More open space may soon be accessible in North Yarmouth if residents decide next month to expand Knight’s Pond Preserve in Cumberland by adding a parcel of land that crosses the town line.

Knight’s Pond Preserve in Cumberland would be expanding by 13 acres in North Yarmouth. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

Developer Ben Grover donated the 13-acre parcel as part the second phase of his Village Center Estates subdivision. Phase one, which consisted of 14 houses on Village View Lane, was approved and completed in 2018. The second phase, now under construction off Village View Lane on Wildlife Lane, includes 22 houses.

Planning Board Chairperson Audrey Lones called the development project “a win-win for everyone involved.”

“The planning board worked hard with the developer to make sure the new housing was balanced with new open space as part of North Yarmouth village’s plan for growth,” Stearns said.

Grover will also create a half-mile trail, according to Royal River Conservation Trust Executive Director Alan Stearns. Grover did not respond to a Forecaster request for comment.

The preserve is accessible from 477 Greely Road Extension in Cumberland. The new trailhead will be on Village View Lane in North Yarmouth’s Village Center. There are plans to add parking at the trailhead once the subdivision is completed.


The North Yarmouth Select Board unanimously approved accepting the land donation on Feb. 14. Final approval will go before residents at North Yarmouth’s annual Town Meeting on April 30.

Knight’s Pond Preserve now encompasses 334 acres and is home to a 46-acre pond and a rare oak-hickory forest, according to Royal River Conservation Trust. The preserve is popular for ice skating, dog walking, mountain biking, snowmobiling and hunting, among other activities. It is owned and managed by the towns of Cumberland and North Yarmouth and is protected by easements held by both Royal River Conservation Trust and the Chebeague and Cumberland Land Trust.

“With a rapidly growing village, people will now be able to walk from the village to the Knight’s Pond Preserve or drive into the Village Center, have lunch and go for a walk to the pond afterward,” Stearns said. “It creates an amenity for the village that all new and current residents and businesses will appreciate.”

North Yarmouth is encouraging open space and recreation as part of its 2018 comprehensive plan. In a survey related to the plan, 85% of respondents said scenic views, trail networks, public access to open space and outdoor recreation areas were either very important or somewhat important to them.

“Any land that we preserve in the Village Center area for recreation, access to parks and trails, is super important because we’re a pretty popular place to live these days,” North Yarmouth Select Board Chairperson Brian Sites said. “The demand for housing in this area is really high, so I think this helps us preserve and provide access for folks to some really great parks and trails.”

Royal River Conservation Trust Board member Ed Gervais, who built a home in the subdivision last year, said he plans to take advantage of the new trail so close to his home. Gervais said he’s “thrilled the trail is going to be accessible to the town,” especially with the increased use trails have seen since the pandemic began.

There is no exact timeline for when the trail in North Yarmouth will open. The 13-acre expansion will be effective immediately if it’s approved at Town Meeting.

“It’s important to caution that there will continue to be construction in the neighborhood as people are finishing houses and moving in,” Stearns said. “It may take over a year from now before it’s really a comfortable place to go for a hike. The two towns and the two land trusts are continuously doing work to manage and improve the trails. We’re ready for this expansion, but we’ll need to continue to improve the existing trail network, which is getting very heavy use.”

Knight’s Pond Preserve in Cumberland and North Yarmouth. Outlined in yellow is the 13-acre addition in North Yarmouth’s Village Center. Contributed / Royal River Conservation Trust

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