BATH

The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust announced the conservation of more than 60 acres of forest, shoreline, wetlands and wildlife habitat in Woolwich and Bath — a family farm on Phipps Point and an historical island in the Kennebec River.

Trust officials said these lands will now be protected from development for perpetuity.

DeWick Farm

The DeWick family recently donated a conservation easement for the DeWick Farm on Phipps Point in Woolwich. A previous generation of the DeWick family purchased the farm 110 years ago from Lincoln Bailey.

“The conservation easement, along with continued forest management under my family’s stewardship, will assure this land remains undeveloped and natural for future generations,” family representative Stephen DeWick said. “As a family we are proud to have made this commitment to protect our land.”

KELT officials said the farm and its spectacular land means a great deal to the three DeWick siblings who decided to donate the easement.

“They gained their love of the outdoors and the environment being raised on the farm,” said Jack Witham, KELT board president, in a news release. “An easement that is donated is special and shows the deep connection to the land for this family.”

The property is rich in local history and features 57 acres that span across the peninsula with scenic shoreline on Brookings and Montsweag bays.

The property also consists of important wildlife habitats in mixed woodlands, a stream, open fields and tidal mudflats, Witham said.

Varney Island

This summer, KELT purchased Varney Island — a 3.5-acre island located east of Varney Mill Road and west of Lines Island on the west branch of the Kennebec River.

The land also been known as Black Island and Lemont’s Island in the past.

The island’s industrial history is tied to the land and water. Alfred Lemont established the Lemont Shipyard for wood transportation and a large steam lumber mill from 1851 until 1865.

Joseph Varney, who worked for Lemont on the island, stepped forward to buy the business when Lemont retired. Goods manufactured at the mill included lumber, timber and house frames.

The commodities were bought locally or shipped to Boston or New York.

In 1894, the mill burned to the ground; the steamer fire engine transported by four horses was unable to save the property.

Varney Island is predominantly forested. Surrounding the island are intertidal wetlands with a deep water channel on the east side. Due to previous human use and disturbance, the island has many invasive plants but despite this, it provides habitat for a variety of wildlife species including small mammals, deer, eagles, and shore birds.

A conservation easement is a legal tool that limits development on farm, forest land, and other natural and community places. Landowners continue to own, manage, and can sell their land; however the conservation easement held by the land trust permanently remains on the property.

“KELT is proud to protect and steward both of these beautiful places that represent the natural diversity of the lower Kennebec Estuary region,” KELT Executive Director Carrie Kinne said.



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