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Letter to the Community: Harpswell Coastal Academy

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
May 16, 2023

To the Harpswell community:

Though we have submitted a press release about Harpswell Heritage Land Trust’s decision to respectfully decline the generous offer of the Harpswell Coastal Academy property, we wanted to follow that with a letter to you, the Harpswell community.

We feel fortunate to be a one-town land trust. It allows us to focus our energy on Harpswell and its many strengths and opportunities. The care you share for the natural and human environment is one of the many things we appreciate about being part of this community. Thank you to all who get involved for the good of the town.

When the opportunity to acquire Harpswell Coastal Academy was presented to us on May 10, we instantly entered research mode, spending hours on the phone and computer gathering information to allow us to make the best decision feasible given the time constraints. In the end, the Board of Trustees believed that the risks outweighed the benefits.

As a nationally accredited nonprofit land trust, we pursue conservation projects through a thoughtful, deliberate, transparent process. Projects typically take months or even years to work through our procedure checklist as we carefully follow environmental and legal due diligence. We were unable to squeeze this process into a few days.

We carefully consider our mission and strategic plan when evaluating new projects to thoughtfully allocate our staff and financial resources. Taking on a building of the size and complexity of HCA would take significant resources and is outside of our core mission to preserve and protect Harpswell’s natural resources, cultural heritage, and access to the outdoors.

Some of you may be disappointed by this decision, others not, but we want you to know that we are engaged in a thoughtful process that considers multiple factors and community input. We welcome your thoughts at any time.


Julia McLeod, Executive Director
Wendy Batson, President

To read the press release about HCA, click here.