I am writing to urge support for the purchase of the northern end of Clapboard Island to conserve the property and make it available to the public.

Clapboard is located immediately off Falmouth Town Landing in Casco Bay. The island recently came on the market for the first time since 1898, and a local group of residents has formed the Friends of Clapboard Island to facilitate the purchase.

As someone who has traveled the world as a ship’s captain, I appreciate our scenic shorelines in the state of Maine. Unfortunately, much of it is off limits to the general public.

This is a unique opportunity that will provide local residents access to a secluded island experience with daytime recreation opportunities such as swimming, picnicking and hiking. The public would access the island, only a short distance from the Falmouth mainland, via kayaks or other small boats. The island boasts beaches, paths and an oak and pine forest with century-old trees.

The shoreline is undeveloped, and the island is home to ospreys and nesting American bald eagles. If the project is successful, it will be managed as a public preserve by Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

To be successful, fundraising must be completed by August of this year. If not, the current contract will expire and the property will go back on the open market.

A substantial amount of money has already been pledged by local citizens, but more needs to be raised. Other important funding sources hoped for are a town of Falmouth appropriation, matching grants from a charitable foundation and the re-sale of an island cottage.

To lend support, please contact the Maine Coast Heritage Trust (207-729-7366), the Friends of Clapboard Island (207-310-0329) or the Falmouth Land Trust (207-200-5488).

Capt. David Witherill
Cumberland