A VIEW FROM “The Nubbin” of Lower Goose Island, on land conserved through an easement.

A VIEW FROM “The Nubbin” of Lower Goose Island, on land conserved through an easement.

HARPSWELL

Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a statewide land conservation organization, has announced that it has met its fundraising goal of $925,000 to purchase the Goslings Islands in Harpswell from the family of William E. and Jean R. “Polly” Soule and keep them open to the public.

“The incredible outpouring of generosity for these islands demonstrates how important it is to protect public access to the places people love,” said MCHT President Tim Glidden. “We thank all who played a part in this success, and we look forward to caring for the Goslings for generations to come.”

In the coming months, MCHT will assume ownership of the Goslings and take on stewardship responsibilities including signage, maintenance of campsites, and caring for the natural habitat the islands provide.

The public is welcome to visit the islands, which are accessible by boat. As part of its ongoing trips and tours program, MCHT will be offering guided overnight trips to the islands starting next summer, in partnership with L.L. Bean.

MCHT also plans to keep the islands on the Maine Island Trail.

“I am able to transfer these beloved family islands into the safekeeping of MCHT in perpetuity, not because of anything I have done, but rather what my parents were able to do 67 years ago. Please let history remember, honor and thank William E. and Jean R. ‘Polly’ Soule,” family member Mary LeMaistre said in a written statement.

The effort to permanently conserve the Goslings got a boost late last year when neighboring landowner Larney Otis donated a conservation easement to MCHT that allows daytime public access to her property on the southern portion of nearby Lower Goose Island. Otis’s gift was added incentive for the Soule family to seek a conservation outcome for the Goslings Islands.

Together, the conserved land on Lower Goose and the Goslings total more than 50 acres including fine shell beaches, open vistas and rocky shoreline in the heart of Casco Bay.

“This is great news for all who live and play on Casco Bay. There’s fewer and fewer places for folks to go to these days, and we’ve got to keep what we can,” said Judy Marsh of Paul’s Marina in Brunswick, in a statement. Paul’s Marina held a lobster bake and donated all of the proceeds — more than $20,000 — to support conservation of the Goslings.

In addition to gifts from more than 250 individuals and several local nonprofits, major support for the project came from the Land for Maine’s Future Program, L.L. Bean, the R.K. Mellon Family Foundation, Fisher Charitable Foundation, Libra Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust is a statewide land conservation organization committed to protecting the character of Maine. Since 1970, Maine Coast Heritage Trust has helped conserve more than 141,000 acres in Maine, from the Isles of Shoals to Cobscook Bay, including more than 300 entire coastal islands. For more information, visit www.mcht.org.

MAINE COAST HERITAGE TRUST is a statewide land conservation organization committed to protecting the character of Maine. Since 1970, Maine Coast Heritage Trust has helped conserve more than 141,000 acres, from the Isles of Shoals to Cobscook Bay, including more than 300 entire coastal islands. For more information, visit www.mcht.org.


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