A tract of land containing stone walls and pine trees in Fayette. The Kennebec Land Trust announced the land as a new donation that will add more public recreation opportunities to the area. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

FAYETTE — The Kennebec Land Trust will add more public recreation opportunities to the area following a recent 74-acre donation in Fayette.

The Hales Pond Woodland Preserve was donated in honor of John Moore, who purchased the 74 acres in 1960 with his friend Albert Ferguson, according to Kennebec Land Trust Lands Committee Co-Chair Jim Connors.

When Moore died, Connors said he left a parcel for his companion Marilyn Donnelly. Ferguson and Donnelly then decided to donate the property to the Kennebec Land Trust in his memory.

“In memory of John Moore, it gives us great satisfaction to gift this land to the KLT for preservation,” Donnelly said in a news release. “The beauty this land exhibits with the gorgeous pond and tall trees will forever be a peaceful place for the public to enjoy.”

And the land has plenty to offer — according to the land trust, it features “2,700 feet of undeveloped stream and pond frontage, vernal pools and biologically rich woodland and wetland habitats.”

The land trust will work to create a trail from Bamford Pond Road next year, through which the public can enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, hunting and nature observation. It will also provide access to paddling and fishing on Hales Pond.


The new acquisition has brought the organization’s total acreage of conserved land to 7,570.

The land trust covers 21 communities in Kennebec, Franklin and Androscoggin counties. Kennebec Land Trust Executive Director Theresa Kerchner said that altogether the combined area, not including the water, in all 21 communities is roughly 413,000 acres, meaning that the Kennebec Land Trust has conserved about 1.5% of the land in its service area.

Kerchner said that while this is a small percentage, it’s important to note the work the land trust does to this land, and how it makes it available to the public for several outdoor recreational opportunities.

A tract of land in Fayette is seen Monday that the Kennebec Land Trust announced as a new donation. The land trust says the donation will add more public recreation opportunities to the area. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“It is not a large, contiguous block,” added Connors. “These are broken up into 40-plus parcels now, and they’re near people. We discovered through the pandemic that these properties are accessible to people in their communities, and they got a lot of use for people who needed to get out.”

He said that part of the land trust’s accomplishment in conserving more than 7,500 acres is that most people in the area now live near an area with plenty of recreational opportunities.

Looking ahead, Connors said the land trust isn’t targeting a set number of total conserved acres, and that they just hope to collaborate with more landowners in the future to conserve additional parcels of land.


“It’s hard to cap that sort of approach in terms of numbers,” he said. “So it’s really a question of how many landowners, and which lands, going forward would be subject to or objects of a conservation effort.”

In addition to working with landowners, he said financial supporters help fund these endeavors while the land trust itself works as a mechanism to make it all happen.

“It’s like a three-legged stool, in a way,” he said.

Altogether, Maine has more than 80 land trusts that conserve more than 12% of the state and provide over 2.34 million acres of publicly accessible land.

Fayette Town Manager Mark Robinson was quoted in a news release showing appreciation for the donation on behalf of the town, adding that this is one of many parcels in Fayette that the land trust has conserved.

“These special places are critical natural areas at the heart of natural resource protection,” he said. “In accordance with the recent Fayette, state-approved comprehensive plan these are critical areas containing plant and animal life or geological and ecological features worthy of preservation in their natural condition and are of significant scenic, scientific or historical value. On behalf of the town, I am very thankful for this gift, that will benefit generations to come.”

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