BRUNSWICK — Two conservation trusts want the town to contribute $150,000 to help preserve 96 acres at Woodward Point.

Their goal is to raise $3.5 million by the end of March. The conservation effort launched last summer still needs $340,000, the organizations said in a press release. 

The Town Council is scheduled to take up the request from the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust at its Jan. 24 meeting.

Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Program agreed to provide $570,000 to preserve the property. The state’s Land for Maine’s Future program awarded $400,000 for the acquisition, and 75 individuals have made donations.

Woodward Point, near Cook’s Corner, includes more than 2 miles of shore frontage on the New Meadows River and Woodward Cove, and would offer the public opportunities to walk, swim, fish, or paddle.

“I am already getting calls and emails in support of this measure,” Town Councilor Daniel Ankeles said this week. “Nobody has contacted me in opposition.”

Councilor Daniel Jenkins said constituents so far have shown overwhelming support for the initiative. “The most common theme is that of more public access to coastal areas in the town,” Jenkins said.

If the property is purchased, it will be owned and managed by Maine Coast Heritage Trust in cooperation with the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust, at no expense to the town.

Brunswick’s contribution would come from the sale of town-owned property at 946 Mere Point Road, which netted $403,000 designated for shoreline access projects. The town has a balance of $330,000 available from the sale.

“What we’re getting is the best-case scenario, and more people will visit our town and patronize our stores as a result of this,” Ankeles said.

The trusts said conserving the land “will offer the public opportunities to walk along the water, fish, or even launch paddle-crafts and swim at favorable tides.”

“Brunswick has very little guaranteed public access to its shores for recreation, and opening Woodward Point to the public would be a huge leap forward for the Town,” Mike Lyne, chairman of the town’s recreation commission, said in the release.

Amenities would include a parking lot, a mowed trail, woods trails and places to reach the water. There will not be drive-up boat launches, but a hand-carry boat launch is possible.

Conservation of Woodward Point would also protect shorebird feeding and roosting habitat, making it well-suited for birding, and provide access for shellfish harvesters to nearby clam flats at Woodward Cove, according to the trusts.

“We would be protecting highly productive shellfish flats so that people who make their living off those flats can continue to do so and perhaps pass that life onto the next generation of diggers and other shellfish harvesters,” Ankeles said.

Brunswick is being asked to contribute $150,000 to help preserve Woodward Point.


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