Critical Open Space Parcel added to Rachel Carson Refuge (ME)
Kennebunkport, Maine: Today, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Trust for Public Land, and the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust announced the addition of the 70-acre Goose Rocks Corner property in Kennebunkport to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Located near the corner of Dyke Road and Route 9, the Goose Rocks Corner property has been an important conservation priority for years because of its scenic views, wildlife habitat, and the buffer it provides for critical wetlands already protected by the Refuge.
When the Goose Rocks Corner property was slated for residential development two years ago, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) teamed up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust to protect the land. After nearly two years of negotiations, TPL purchased the property in April of 2000 from Jeff Cohen and held it until it could be added to the Refuge for permanent protection.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used $610,000 from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to fund the Goose Rocks acquisition. Maine’s Congressional delegation, including Senator Olympia Snowe, Senator Susan Collins, and Congressman Tom Allen, was instrumental in securing a Congressional appropriation for the Refuge to support this effort.
“Acquisition of Goose Rocks Corner is an example of the type of partnership between the federal government and the private sector that works in protecting land in Maine – particularly in the densely-populated southern region. I am very proud that, working with Senator Collins, we were able to secure the funds necessary to protect this vital parcel,” said U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME). “I will continue to support funding to conserve additional properties that can buffer the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge – an area of extraordinary beauty that provides important habitat for more than 250 different species of birds.”
“I am pleased we were able to secure funding for this newest addition to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge,” stated Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). “This acquisition, using the Land and Water Conservation Fund, will permanently provide open space and scenic views while protecting local water quality and wildlife. Southern Maine faces intense development pressures, and funding like this helps ease those pressures while ensuring the quality of life Mainers have come to expect.”
“The Goose Rocks Corner acquisition is an important addition to one of the true natural treasures on the Maine coast, the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge,” said Representative Tom Allen (D-ME). “While the federal partnership in funding is both crucial and appropriate, credit for this momentous acquisition belongs chiefly with the private partners – the Trust for Public Land and the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.”
Ward Feurt, refuge manager at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, commented, “We are very excited to finally protect this property, which abuts several other parcels that are owned and managed by the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, as part of our Goose Rocks Division. Creating large blocks of open space is critical in the effort to protect priority wildlife species. In addition, the Refuge is pleased to be working with nonprofit partners, like the Trust for Public Land and the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, to achieve the conservation of important tracts.”
The Trust Public Land, a national conservation organization, worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to negotiate the purchase of the land and also advocated for public funding of the acquisition. According to Whitney Hatch, TPL’s New England regional director, “Southern Maine is under intense development pressure that threatens to forever change the character of communities like Kennebunkport. This project is the result of an extraordinary partnership that came together in an effort to protect, not only critical wildlife habitat, but also scenic open space treasured by residents. We are grateful to Maine’s Congressional delegation for their efforts to secure federal funding, to the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust for raising private funds to help make this project possible, and to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their strong partnership.”
The Kennebunkport Conservation Trust (KCT) raised $40,000 from local supporters to help fund the acquisition and cover costs associated with the project. Tom Bradbury, president of KCT, commented, “The membership of KCT, as well as both seasonal and year-round citizens of Kennebunkport, are extremely grateful to the Trust for Public Land and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge for making a long-standing dream a reality. Individually, it would have been very difficult to make such a transaction possible, but through partnership a wonderful project was able to be completed.”
The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System and has protected more than 5,000 acres between Kittery and Cape Elizabeth. Named after Rachel Carson, one of America’s most well-known naturalists, the Refuge was established in 1966 to protect valuable salt marshes, estuaries, and other important wildlife habitat. The Refuge’s Headquarters are located in Wells, Maine, and can be reached at (207) 646-9226.
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1 million acres nationwide, including more than 30,000 in Maine. For more information, call TPL’s Portland office at (207) 772-7424 or visit them on the Web at www.tpl.org.
The Kennebunkport Conservation Trust is a local land trust founded, “to preserve land in its natural state so that future generations will be able to enjoy it as we do.” Since 1973, KCT has helped conserve over 50 properties totaling some 640 acres. A nonprofit land trust, KCT manages several preserves in town and can be reached at P.O. Box 7028, Cape Porpoise, ME 04014.