Benches for gatherings are set in a clearing at Camp Gustin on the shores of Loon Pond in Sabattus. The property is being acquired for conservation by the Androscoggin Land Trust with help from Gov. Janet Mills’ Land for Maine Conservation program. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Five parcels of land totaling 1,147 acres in Oxford and Androscoggin counties will be bought and set aside to preserve public access to lakes, rivers, scenic views and mountain vistas under the Land for Maine’s Future conservation program.

“Maine people value the outdoors, and each of these projects represents an exceptional opportunity for us to get outdoors and to protect public access for the enjoyment of generations to come,” Gov. Janet Mills said Monday in announcing a total of 20 projects statewide. The program is the state’s primary method of conserving land for its natural and recreational value. Established in 1987, the fund was nearly depleted until the Legislature and governor worked to infuse $40 million into it in 2021.

Camp Gustin, the Boy Scouts of America camp in Sabattus, is among the properties in the area identified by the governor’s office. The organization is selling some of its camps in Maine and other states to pay into a fund for victims of sexual abuse.

Matt Klutzaritz, scout executive and chief executive officer of the Pine Tree Council, said the property is expected to be conveyed in the next few months. “We are pleased the Androscoggin Land Trust will be purchasing the property, thus protecting it in perpetuity for Scouts and the general public,” Klutzaritz said. “We have been working with Androscoggin Land Trust  for some time and we feel that this is an excellent collaboration for this wonderful property.”

Aimee Dorval, executive director of Androscoggin Land Trust, said the property will be open to the public in the near future. Boy Scouts will not have exclusive use of the land, but will be able to hold some special events and use the camp, she said.

The cost to the state to purchase 20 parcels is $5.06 million, with additional funding from private and municipal sources. Four projects — in Ellsworth, Fryeburg, Machiasport and Oxford – are next to or near public schools, delivering opportunities for nature-based learning and outdoor recreation. These projects are expected to bring an additional $8 million in matching federal funds.


Since its inception, Land for Maine’s Future has been conserved nearly 604,000 acres, 333,425 of which have been working lands. This work includes 41 farms and 9,755 acres of farmlands and 26 commercial working waterfront properties, 1,272 miles of shorelines of rivers, lakes and ponds, 58 miles of coastline, and 158 miles of former railroad corridors for recreational trails.

Local projects and descriptions:

• Jockey Cap: This 15.6-acre parcel in Fryeburg in Oxford County is owned and protected by the town to support low-impact recreational opportunities in the heart of downtown with panoramic views from the top of the dome.

• Staples Woodlands: This 83.5-acre parcel in Oxford in Oxford County is owned and protected by the Western Foothills Land Trust near a school and includes about 1,140 feet of river frontage, an important snowmobile trail juncture, and trails for hiking, snowshoeing, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.

• Camp Gustin: This 95-acre parcel in Sabattus in Androscoggin County features primitive camping and other low-impact recreation opportunities, as well as shoreline and wetland habitat abutting conservation land.

• Kezar Corridor Lands-Patterson Hill: This 357-acre in Lovell in Oxford County is owned and protected by the Greater Lovell Land Trust, featuring expansive mountain views from Patterson Hill, and includes part of the snowmobile and ATV recreational trail network, with plans to develop an alternative “pedestrian only” trail.

• Porter Hills: This 596-acre parcel in Porter in Oxford County is owned and protected by Francis Small Heritage Trust and features forest and wetland habitat, including rare plants and natural communities, and a network of trails accessing scenic mountain summits.

Details on the program and past investments can be found at Land for Maine’s Future.

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