FREEPORT — The Freeport Conservation Trust will celebrate 40 years of preserving, connecting and sharing town lands on Saturday, Sept. 30.

The party, open to the public, will take place from 2-5 p.m. at the Tidebrook Preserve, 38 Bartol Island Road, and will include food, drinks, games, trail walks and live music from The Wabacs. 

Although donations to the land trust will be accepted, Executive Director Katrina Van Dusen said the event is a “friendraiser, not a fundraiser.”

She said that she and the 15-member board of trustees simply want to celebrate 40 years of land conservation.

Since 1977, FCT volunteers and staff have partnered with landowners, neighbors, local businesses, the town, and other groups to conserve and connect more than 1,500 acres of open space and nearly 20 miles of public trails.

The Trust’s primary focus in its early years was on preserving large blocks of open space as fields or forest for the preservation of wildlife habitat, scenic vistas and productive farmland,” board member Ben Niles said. “Over the past 20 years or so, the focus has broadened to increasingly include creation of trails and other recreational opportunities for our community.”

The trust has now built walking and hiking trails on protected lands at each corner of the town, as well as its center. 

Board members Kate Olson and Ethel Wilkerson agreed that Freeport’s preserved land is a large part of the town’s appeal.

“The work of the Freeport Conservation Trust is the reason there are at least a dozen places for my family to hike within a 10-minute drive of our home,” Wilkerson said. 

“My family and I moved from Portland to Freeport because of the abundance of open space, trails, and coastal access here,” Olson added. “I think that FCT has been instrumental in protecting places for all Freeport residents to swim, hike, and connect with the outdoors.”

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

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