The 130-acre parcel is outlined in red. Bordering it to the west is Buxton and to the south is Saco. Dark green marks Scarborough Land Trust properties, while in lighter green is other conserved properties and open space. Contributed / Town of Scarborough

The Scarborough Land Trust is inching closer to conserving a 130-acre parcel on the westernmost portion of town off Hanson Road. The acquisition would connect to existing conserved land in Saco and create a link from there to conserved land in Buxton, resulting in 943 contiguous protected acres.

The 130-acre parcel would be combined with 18 acres across Hanson Road, which the land trust purchased last year, to create the Silver Brook Preserve.

Andrew Mackie, executive director of the land trust, said the acquisition would be the largest since he’s been part of the land trust.

“It’s been quite a few years since we’ve had a project that size,” Mackie told the Leader this week. “We tend to work on smaller parcels, somewhere between 20 and 60 acres, so we’re really excited about working on a big block of potentially conserved habitat and (for) public access.”

Nearly $600,000 of the over $1.7 million purchase will be covered through a grant from the state’s Land for Maine’s Future program. The Scarborough Town Council gave preliminary approval June 5 to contribute $800,000 from the town’s land acquisition reserve fund. The council is scheduled to take a final vote on the contribution June 26. If approved, the land trust would then need to fundraise about $360,000 before closing on the property.

“I think this is a really good example of something the land trust does, bringing in a lot of different funding sources,” Mackie said. “We’re able to use the town’s land (acquisition reserve) fund and really stretch that and use other funding sources, all for the benefit of the people of Scarborough.”


The town’s Parks and Conservation Land Board, in charge of evaluating requests for contributions from the town’s land fund, rates each property based on a long list of criteria, including the wildlife it supports and recreational opportunities. The Silver Brook Preserve property received 922 points, above other similarly sized conserved lands in town, including Libby River Farm (910), Fuller Farm (905) and Warren Woods (737).

“It’s pretty incredible that in a town that is 6 miles from Portland, Maine, we’re going to have a parcel that’s almost 1,000 acres that’s protected,” said Suzanne Foley-Ferguson, vice chair of the land board, at the June 5 council meeting. “That’s huge connectivity.”

Brook trout, American eel, blacknose dace, lake chub and white suckers can be found in Silver Brook while deer, the endangered New England cottontail and little brown bat can be found on land within the parcel and bordering areas.

“It’s also a great property for people,” Mackie said. “We expect trails on this property will connect to the new Broadturn Farm trails, which are opening later this summer, so you’re looking at probably 4 to 5 miles of trails that would be connected together.”

Ahead of the June 5 preliminary vote, Councilor Jean-Marie Caterina noted population growth in the state, especially in Scarborough and bordering towns.

“The more we can conserve the better, so I’m in favor of this for sure,” she said.


Councilor Karin Shupe emphasized the parcel’s role in connecting lands across town lines.

“We’re talking about almost 1,000 acres connecting three communities,” she said. “It’s just super exciting.”

Mackie noted the purchase will take time to finalize, but the Silver Brook Preserve is a significant undertaking that comes with opportunities to work with Scarborough’s neighbors.

“Even though this project’s entirely in Scarborough, the conserved area is really a three-town focus,” he said. “We’re really excited about it.”

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