Maine Coast Heritage Trust now owns 120 acres on Clark Island in the Midcoast after completing the three-year conservation project. Ken Woisard Photography

The majority of 175-acre Clark Island in St. George has been purchased by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust to be used by the outdoor public immediately, the nonprofit announced Monday.

The 124-acre preserve was purchased for $3.5 million from the heirs of Albert Nickerson, while the total project, including the cost of long-term stewardship, cost $4.8 million, the Trust reported in a press release.

Another 30 acres of the island is under a conservation easement held by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. The new island preserve already has a shoreline trail and parking available on the mainland at nearby Craignair Inn, which offers eight designated parking spaces for visitors to Clark Island.

In the coming months, the Trust said it plans to improve access with signs and additional trails.

Trust Land Project Manager Steve Walker said the Nickerson family allowed public access in the past for hikers, birders and naturalists – and sold the land at a discounted price to help permanently conserve it. Walker said a recent appraisal commissioned by the sellers showed the market value of the land was $4.5 million.

“This place is beloved by the mid-coast community, and we’re grateful to all who made generous gifts to make this project possible,” Walker said in a press release.

More than 100 species of migratory birds have been identified on Clark Island by the Trust and the small island is designated as a Significant Tidal Waterfowl and Wading Bird Habitat by the state.

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