A ribbon cutting was held to mark the opening the Chapel Woods Conservation Easement on Saturday June 4. From left are Cindy Krum, Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, Patty Renaud, from the land trust and Steve Hill, Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church. Courtesy photo/Ted Haider

CAPE ELIZABETH — The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust has succeeded in its campaign to protect the final leg of the 8.2-mile Cross Town Trail.   

A 6.2-acre easement on property owned by the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church will protect public access to the last piece of the Cross Town Trail, which until this time has not been protected.   

According to a Cape Elizabeth Land Trust news release, “On May 31, 2022, the land trust completed its purchase of a conservation easement on 6.2 acres of the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church property. The easement prohibits development on the wooded property in the center of Cape Elizabeth and guarantees the public will have access to the trail across the property forever.”   

The land trust held a brief celebration and ribbon cutting on Saturday, June 4. Executive Director of the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust Cindy Krum and Steve Hill, a representative from Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church, made brief remarks and a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the entrance to the trail to signify the preserved status.  

“It was more of a symbolic event than anything,” said Hill. “The event went well. It was short and there were probably 30 to 40 people there, including a good group that was on a hike or walk of the Cross Town Trail that was kind of their midpoint. They stopped at the land trust headquarters for a little lunch, and then as they headed out on the second leg of their hike, they arranged to stop to be there for the ribbon cutting.

“They became the first hikers to hike the Cross Town Trail under an official easement. To a majority of our church, it seemed like a win-win situation of protection. Along with the trial access, a little over six acres of land has been conserved and remains owned by the church, but with the conservation easement, we are legally bound, and it will forever remain just as it is. It is an excellent thing for the environment, and it is a significant contribution to our Environmental ministry, which is an important part of our church.”  


The ceremony coincided with the land trust’s bi-annual Cross Town Walk. Attendees walked about 8.2 miles from Kettle Cove to Portland Head Light along the Cross Town Trail on June 4.   

“Regarding the campaign, we had full board giving and were amazed by the outpouring of community support for the campaign,” said Krum. “We also received one foundation grant. We celebrated the closing on the 6.2-acre conservation easement and a parking license so people may park in the Methodist church parking lot to access the trail. “There were 18 people on the Cross Town Trail walk, and others joined the ribbon-cutting celebration.”   

The land trust and the town of Cape Elizabeth have been working for 35 years to permanently conserve many pieces of the trail. The part that lies on the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church property has remained unprotected up until now. By purchasing this easement, the land trust has not only protected the forest and its wildlife but ensured that the entire Cross Town Trail will always be available for public use.

“The ceremony ribbon cutting was all about this conservation easement that has been entered between our church, the Cape Elizabeth Methodist Church, and the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust,” said Hill. “We have been working on this off and on between the two of us for about three years, but the discussion for getting access to the remaining piece of the Cross Town Trail and then conserving some of the land has been a vision for many years, and just within the last three years this has come to some serious discussion back and forth. Finally, it was celebrated on Saturday.”  

The property is found at 280 Ocean House Road in Cape Elizabeth. The Cross Town Trail stretches 8.2 miles from Fort Williams to Kettle cove and gives visitors a scenic tour of the conservation areas in Cape Elizabeth. 

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