The Scarborough Land Trust wants to conserve additional land. Coutesy image

The Scarborough Town Council unanimously gave preliminary approval to purchase property at Gorham Road conjunctive to Warren Woods on July 19. If given final approval, the land would go into conservation. The purchase is recommended by the town Parks and Conservation Land Board and the Scarborough Land Trust.

The cost to the town would be up to $130,000 from the Land Acquisition Reserve Fund. It would contribute to the 30×30 resolution for Scarborough pledged earlier this year which sets a goal to conserve 30 percent of the town’s land and water by 2030.

“Even though this is small, 11 acres, this is a very significant property. This is exactly the type of thing we’re looking for under the 30×30 guidelines that you have passed,” Andrew Mackie, executive director of the Scarborough Land Trust told the council. “This property is undeveloped. It is mostly forested wetlands with about half of the property consisting of a Pitch Pine Bog. This is an extension of the Pitch Pine Bog found on Warren Woods. This is a rare community type in the state of Maine. It’s listed as S-2 with the state. This is something we don’t have a lot of in Scarborough outside of salt marsh. So we consider this highly significant not only for that plant community directly on the property, but for the fact that this part of a greater wetlands system that we have been working very hard on protecting at Warren Woods.”

Pine Pitch Bogs are a unique ecosystem that are endangered in Maine. They are rated as S2-imperiled by the state. “Development poses a severe threat to this community of plants and its very existence because one cannot replicate what years of evolution have created. The Saco Heath is a well known example of a Pitch Pine Bog,” according to a letter the Parks and Conservation Land Board sent the council.

“This is a big effort,” Mackie said. “We think Warren Woods will become and probably is already one of the shining examples of protecting natural space in Scarborough. It is right in the center of a lot of activity and will have public amenities as we go forward, including a trail system that we are planning that will be much more accessible to people. It will connect to the Downs, potentially connect to the Nonesuch River brewery, and people could walk basically from one end to the other and enjoy some of our business establishments while doing it.”

The Scarborough Land Trust, with other land trusts in Maine, is applying for a federal program called the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).


“This is a program that’s been in existence for a while, and helps fund wetland protection throughout the United states,” Mackie explained.

The process is complicated, which is why the Scarborough Land Trusts works together with other land trusts to complete the process. Together, they can hire a grant writer and advance more efficiently.

“Maine has been pretty successful in getting those grants but there’s no guarantee,” Mackie said. “We probably won’t even hear anything until the end of 2024. By the time the federal budgeting process goes through in terms of getting the money and all that, it could be another 6+ months.”

If the Scarborough Land Trust is successful in gaining this funding, that money would be reimbursed back into the Land Acquisition Reserve Fund. The Scarborough Land Trust has another local project that is included in the same NAWCA proposal that may also be awarded.

The council gave unanimous approval. A second reading will take place Aug. 16.

The property of interest. Courtesy image

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