L.L. Bean made a $250,000 contribution to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust to help buy the Goslings, two undeveloped islands that are among the most popular destinations for local boaters and paddlers in Casco Bay.

Totaling 13.7 acres, the Goslings boast easy access and good anchorages along their 6,800 feet of shoreline.

The trust needs to raise $925,000 by Sept. 15 to buy the islands.

The grant from L.L. Bean brings the organization within $75,000 of reaching that goal, said Betsy Ham, the trust’s director of land protection. More than 220 individuals have donated to the effort, while the state and other groups also have made contributions.

“It really has been a remarkable outpouring of support,” Ham said. “It just shows you what a wonderful public asset this is.”

The islands are popular for excursions by newer paddlers because they don’t have to cross open water to get there, and because there are so many areas to easily get ashore in all tides. The Goslings have become prized by sailors because of the abundance of places to anchor and the protection from the wind and currents.

Although the owners of the Goslings, the LeMaistre family, have allowed paddlers and boaters to anchor and come ashore there for years, the purchase would ensure that access will never be threatened.

In the past five years, L.L. Bean has donated more than $6 million toward conservation and land stewardship to various organizations, including the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. In December 2013, Lanes Island, a 28-acre island off Yarmouth, was given to the trust by Lisa and Leon Gorman. Gorman is the grandson of Leon L. Bean, the founder of the retail giant.

Jennifer Van Allen can be reached at 791-6313 or at:

[email protected] 

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