Loon Echo Land Trust has purchased Peabody-Fitch Woods. Photo courtesy of Loon Echo Land Trust

BRIDGTON — After months of fundraising, Loon Echo Land Trust has succeeded in purchasing a unique 252-acre parcel of forestland that will never be developed.

Loon Echo, a nonprofit organization that protects nearly 7,000 acres across seven towns in the Lakes Region, raised $324,000 to purchase Peabody-Fitch Woods in South Bridgton. The property surrounds Peabody-Fitch Farm, a historic farmstead that dates to the 1700s, and its Narramissic House, built in 1797.

The house is “remarkably well-preserved and really protects the mid-19th century. It just has a great story to tell,” Ned Allen, executive director of the Historical Society, said in an earlier interview.

“We received incredible support from the community for this conservation project,” Matt Markot, executive director of Loon Echo, said in a press release. “Now protected, this land will continue to benefit our community forever.”

Loon Echo’s newest acquisition will provide connections between conserved lands and protect wildlife corridors, as well as recreational uses. The property is also in the Sebago watershed and features an 18th-century historic granite quarry.

According to a press release, the land will be available for public access and recreational opportunities. Loon Echo will enhance existing walking trails on the property and plans to build a new trail that will showcase the farm’s agricultural past and views of mountains.

“There’s very little evidence of 21st- or even 20th-century features” on the property, Allen said in an earlier interview. “We have this authentic house, outbuildings and fields that really provide an unusually complete setting.”

Loon Echo was able to purchase the parcel thanks to a $50,000 match grant and a $75,000 outright gift, both from anonymous donors, as well as other grants and fundraising efforts.

Loon Echo and the Historical Society plan to collaborate on new events in the future that will utilize the farm as well as the woods.

To celebrate the purchase and conservation of the woods, the public is invited to a sunset concert with Bruce Marshall at Narramissic Farm at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14. Bring chairs, blankets and a picnic. There is a suggested donation of $10 per person, with proceeds benefiting the Peabody-Fitch Woods and the Historical Society.

This is the first time the woods were offered for sale by the Norman family, who also owned the farmstead. The house, barns and fields were donated to the Historical Society in 1987, but the woods were not and are now being threatened by development on three sides. Purchasing the woods will protect the land as well as the house, fields and barn from encroachment and possible future development.

“One of the most important components of Narramissic’s historic significance is its isolation from contemporary architectural and landscape features,” Allen said.

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.