The community of South Portland and its visitors have benefited from an increase in available trails, open space and environmental access thanks to the tireless efforts of 80 volunteers from the South Portland Land Trust who dedicated more than 400 volunteer hours to trail work projects around the city this past year.

Dan Hogaan and Jeff Woodbury. South Portland Land Trust photo

The land trust held its annual meeting on Dec. 9 and recognized the many board members and volunteers who contributed to a successful 2020. The land trust also elected its executive committee and new board members. Richard Rottkov was elected president; Chelsea Scudder, vice president; Susan Hasson, treasurer; and Andrea McCall became board secretary.

The board also welcomed new members, Tex Haeuser and Alex Redfield.

Haeuser, who was director of planning for the city of South Portland for 30 years, was a member of South Portland Land Trust’s core planning team for its recently-completed organizational planning project.

Redfield is co-director of Cultivating Communities. It was announced that two of its longtime board members, Tom Blake and Steve Jocher, will be leaving the board. Blake, a founder of the land trust, is a past president and a board member since 1989. Jocher, also a past president, is a 16-year board member.

In a year filled with special challenges due to the pandemic, the land trust’s accomplishments included:

• Progress toward expanding the Clark’s Pond Trail as a loop;

• Donating 1,000 cedar seedlings;

Steve Jocher South Portland Land Trust photo

• Doubling the length of the South Branch Trail;

• Engaging in 45 projects with work crews at nine different sites;

• Helping lead city committees for the Open Space Plan, the Open Space Advisory Committee, and the Land Bank Ordinance Committee;

• Engaging in a six-month organizational planning project to expand capacity with a grant from the National Park Service;

• Awarding a scholarship to South Portland His School senior Sarah Folan for her environmental stewardship;

• Supervising South Portland High School student Lucas Lefebvre for an Eagle Scout project for new signage on the South Branch loop trail;

• and Volunteer Project of the Year: Removed 15 yards of trash from Clark’s Pond Island.

Tom Blake announced the Land Trust’s Volunteer of the Year, Dan Hogan, who committed numerous hours and hard work to clean up the Clark’s Pond Trail.

“South Portland Land Trust exists to make our natural resources available for all to enjoy, largely thanks to the volunteers like Dan, who build, maintain and protect our open spaces,” said Blake. “Year-round, he generously devoted countless hours to the trail through active maintenance efforts and organized work days. We are so grateful.”

The South Portland Land Trust is a private, nonprofit land trust dedicated to the conservation of open space and the expansion of trail networks that are significant historically, educationally, recreationally, or ecologically to the people of South Portland. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.southportlandlandtrust.org/.