When Joe and Genie Field sold their home on Wolfe’s Neck Road in 2006, they held onto 19 acres of forest and marshland where their three children used to play. It was, and still is, unspoiled property along the upper Harraseeket River where people can go and not even hear an automobile.

Last month, the Fields gave the land to Freeport Conservation Trust, which will not only preserve it, but will also build trails next spring so that people can enjoy the property, located across the river from historic Pettengill Farm.

“It’s really quiet,” said Genie Field. “It’s primeval. Any day you go there, you cannot hear the highway. At high tide under a full moon, you can see the whole marsh get covered.”

The land will become the Field Estuary, with access from Wolfe’s Neck Road.

“We donated this ecologically and historically important land to Freeport Conservation Trust in order to preserve it for our children and all the people of Freeport forever,” Joe and Genie Field said in announcing the gift. “Our predecessors farmed this land for centuries and it is directly across the river from Pettengill Farm, owned by Freeport Historical Society. As nearby properties became developed, we felt the history of salt-water farming, the natural beauty of this portion of the river basin and the character of Wolfe’s Neck were getting lost. Giving the pristine estuary and river frontage to Freeport Conservation Trust was a perfect solution, as they will manage and preserve it forever.”

Katrina Van Dusen, executive director of Freeport Conservation Trust, said that there are only “ad hoc” trails now at Field Estuary.

“We have to make a plan to build a trail that somebody could follow,” Van Dusen said. “There are some historic woods trails that could play into the trails.”

Van Dusen said that the Freeport Conservation Trust board has not discussed permitted uses for the property. Dogs and snowmobiles are likely, and hunting is a matter to be considered.

“There are scruffy pine forests in some places, beautiful hemlocks and salt marsh in others,” she said. “You get down there and it’s wide open. But it won’t really be accessible until spring. We’re just grateful to have accepted this gift.”

In 1986, the Fields bought 44 acres at 102 Wolfe’s Neck Road, which included a farmhouse and barn, fields, woods, streams and estuaries. In 2006, with their last child graduated from Freeport High School, they sold the farmhouse, barn and 71?2 acres and moved to Grover’s Crossing, Freeport, to a smaller, newer house with 3 acres. They retained 35 acres, “and spent 10 years deciding what to do with it,” said Genie Field. In April 2015, she said, they sold a field of 10 acres behind the original house to a family that was building a house on Cranberry Ridge Road and whose land abutted the Fields property. Minus the 19 acres the Fields gave the Conservation Trust, 5 acres remain on the road that they will sell early in 2016.

Genie Field said that their grown children – Charlie, Willie and Lisa – have taken an interest in helping to develop the trails.

“This means our kids can come back from Colorado and walk on it anytime, and anybody else can, too,” she said. “It was all field when we lived there. The trees, except for the hemlocks, are new.”

Field said that she and her husband are thrilled to put the property into the hands of Freeport Conservation Trust.

“It feels wonderful,” she said. “I just encourage people to enjoy it sooner rather than later. Our kids are 100 percent behind this, because they don’t want to see a house built on Wolfe’s Neck Road.”

Victoria Stefanakos, Freeport Conservation Trust president, said in a press release, “We are grateful to the Fields for sharing with us and the community their valued property so that anyone will be able to walk through the majestic hemlocks, past rock outcrops, and down to the expansive and ever-changing saltmarsh. We are honored to care for this land into the future.”

Freeport Conservation Trust protects more than 1,500 acres through ownership and conservation easements on private property.

Field Creek shows off its beauty on a clear day. It is part of a 19-acre parcel given to Freeport Conservation Trust by Joe and Genie Field of Freeport.Joe and Genie Field of Freeport have given property along the upper Harraseeket River to Freeport Conservation Trust for preservation.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.