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The Origins of Potts Point Preserve

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
November 1, 2022

This article was submitted to the Harpswell Anchor by Bob and Kay Howe of the Potts Point Road Association

The Harpswell Heritage Land Trust has dramatically lessened the friction that used to exist between homeowners on Potts Point Road and outsiders seeking access to the beach and the land at the outer end of the Potts Point Peninsula. Potts Point Road—which is as much a walkway as it is a roadway—is narrow, unpaved, privately owned, and maintained by the homeowners. It extends from the termination of SR123 to the beach.

In the past, homeowners on Potts Point Road became aggravated when speeding cars owned by outsiders kicked up large clouds of dust and threatened the lives of pedestrians, both young and old. Members of the Potts Point Road Association were taking turns at cleaning up the debris left by outsiders on the beach. There was concern that fires started on the beach might spread to nearby homes and places where fire trucks might not even be able to turn around. When it was rumored that the owner of the property (i.e. the beach and outer peninsula), a resident of Florida, had willed the land to the Catholic Church, Jennifer and Eugene Coughlin, cottage owners, contacted the parish headquarters and initiated discussions that led to a purchase and sale agreement. Members of the Potts Point Road Association provided funds while the Land Trust acquired title to what is now called the Potts Point Preserve.

Ground rules were established that now seem to be working successfully:

  • No fires on the beach and no overnight camping
  • Harpswell Heritage Land Trust has responsibility for ensuring that the beach is free of debris
  • Dogs on Potts Point Road are required to be leashed; however, this restriction does not apply to dogs on the Potts Point Preserve per se
  • Vehicle use of the road is limited to owners, guests, and commercial vehicles. All other members of the public must walk in from Route 123.
  • For safety reasons, the Potts Point Road Association imposed a 5mph speed limit for all vehicles

In summary, it’s become pleasant for the homeowners to converse with folks on the way to the Potts Point Preserve as well as to observe youngsters heading down the road to Nature Day Camp. On the downside, many of the renters of cottages on Potts Point Road still fail to observe the speed limit.