YARMOUTH — The Royal River Conservation Trust has met its year-end goal of raising $90,000 in private donations to purchase Yarmouth’s last remaining unfragmented habitat and shoreline along the Royal River.

“We feel great. It was a really strong showing of support from people in Yarmouth who care about preserving open space,” Executive Director Alan Stearns said. He said he expects the sale to close this spring.

The 24 acres owned by Steve and Greg Dugas are east of the Royal River, bounded by the 22-acre Hilda Barker Preserve and the 35-acre Sligo Road Reserve. By purchasing the land and connecting the two town-owned properties, the trust hopes to create a corridor for trails and protect a half-mile of Royal River shoreline.

The Dugases agreed to sell the riverfront property for $250,000, or $135,000 less than its appraised value. An additional $60,000 will be needed for trails, signs, land management, a conservation easement and due diligence, making the final cost of the sale around $310,000.

Last May, the Town Council unanimously voted to acquire the land and commit $110,000 from an existing land acquisition reserve fund. In November, the Riverfront Woods Preserve received an additional $110,000 in grant funding from the Land for Maine’s Future board, the state’s primary funding vehicle for conserving land for natural and recreational value.

“We have been incredibly encouraged by the generosity by more than 150 families in Yarmouth that have contributed to our goal as well as several businesses,” Stearns said, noting charitable donations from Estabrook’s Garden Center, CCB Inc. construction services, and Kennebec Savings Bank.

He said he was especially “heartened” by a $1,000 contribution from Yarmouth’s Village Improvements Society.

Other highlights of 2017 included a 50-acre acquisition at Runaround Pond in Durham, a 427-acre easement on Waterhouse Farm in New Gloucester, and a 70-acre addition of non-contiguous land with 2 miles of shoreline at Intervale Preserve in New Gloucester.

The trust is now accepting applications for a new position of development director, who will be responsible for implementing the goals, strategies and benchmarks of its development and fundraising efforts, including securing individual, corporate and foundation support.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be contacted at 781-3661, ext. 183 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: JocelynVanSaun