CAPE ELIZABETH – The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust in May 2011 negotiated the purchase of a 63.6-acre parcel adjoining Robinson Woods. According to the group, in the past 12 months, the land trust has raised nearly $1.1 million in public and private contributions towards the purchase price and stewardship requirements for the property. Last week, the nonprofit land conservation organization announced a challenge grant appealing to area residents to help complete the $1.2 million fundraising campaign.

Under the terms of the challenge grant, Cape Elizabeth resident Paul Coulombe has agreed to match, dollar for dollar, all donations as the land trust works to raise the final $100,000 of the campaign.

“Paul has been a great friend of the organization, and he immediately recognized the importance his gift would have by encouraging others to support this campaign,” Executive Director Chris Franklin said.

The land trust will be showing off the property this week. Images and maps of the property may be seen at www.capelandtrust.org, and the land trust will be leading two public walks on the property, at 3 p.m. on Friday, July 6, and again at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 7.

Speaking on behalf of the land trust, Ted Darling, board president, expressed his gratitude for the support received thus far and his optimism regarding the challenge grant. “As a local land trust, we receive support from many sources, but the most important by far, are community donations that will help us permanently preserve this remarkable property.”

According to the group, Robinson Woods II provides exceptional waterfowl and wading bird habitat, and secures nearly a mile of trails within the 7.5-mile, cross-town trail corridor. While the property allows public access, both the town and the land trust agreed that the best way to ensure future public access and habitat protection was through conservation.

Support for the campaign thus far has come from a $350,000 allocation by the town of Cape Elizabeth, $175,000 from the land trust board of directors and organizational land reserves, $312,000 in private foundation grants and $246,000 in individual donations. While some of the remaining dollars may yet come from foundation sources, the land trust is hopeful that area residents will respond generously to the public campaign and help the organization reach its goal prior to a November deadline to close on the property.

A waterfall within Robinson Woods II in Cape Elizabeth. (Courtesy photo by Ezra Wolfinger)

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