Supporters of the Royal River Conservation Trust gathered Aug. 15 at Skyline Farm carriage house museum in North Yarmouth to celebrate with three cakes for three successes: the expansion of Chesley Meadows Preserve at Runaround Pond in Durham, the expansion of Old Crow Ranch in Durham and the creation of Big Falls Preserve in New Gloucester.

“We have three conservation projects that we completed this spring, and we were doing so much we were forgetting to have ribbon cuttings and celebrations for individual projects,” said the executive director, Alan Stearns. “Tonight we have landowners, Town Council members, board members, volunteers and supporters – all sorts of community members – here to celebrate.”

The event, called RRCT Celebrates, was held for the second straight year.

“We can make some smart moves now so that this beautiful place we live in will continue on with appropriate development and appropriate conservation – and dam removal when needed,” said Steve Barr, a board member since 2003. “Anything that touches the Royal River watershed, we have been assimilating through smaller land trusts, which allows us to get more done.”

The Royal River Conservation Trust absorbed several smaller like-minded groups, including Friends of the Royal River, and land trusts based in Falmouth and North Yarmouth. Board members live in the communities along the 39-mile Royal River, which originates in New Gloucester and flows through Auburn, Gray, North Yarmouth and Yarmouth on its way to Casco Bay.

“I fish the river – striped bass and trout,” said board member Jeff Verrill. “So I want to keep this watershed as clean as possible and acquire contiguous properties around the watershed for preservation.”

The event included music by the Grassholes, heavy hors d’oeuvres by the Blue Elephant and a talk by a Maine Conservation Champion awardee Brownie Carson. Now a second-term state senator serving District 24, which includes communities abutting the Royal River, Carson served on the Natural Resources Council of Maine for 27 years, from 1984 to 2011.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance photographer and writer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected]

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