About Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
Harpswell’s heritage is inscribed upon its beloved land and sea – its shimmering islands and bays, timeless spruce forests and bogs, whispering coves and saltwater farms. Healthy fisheries and verdant landscapes are vital to our town’s economy and our culture.
Migratory birds, shellfish and other animals depend upon our forests, fields and wetlands. Lifelong residents and newcomers enjoy the scenic beauty and small-town atmosphere that make Harpswell unique.
The natural and cultural landscapes that define our town are the keys to its future as a home, a source of livelihood and a place to visit. Protecting Harpswell’s heritage is a timeless responsibility we all share.
Harpswell Heritage Land Trust is dedicated to protecting what is so special about Harpswell. Our mission is to preserve and protect Harpswell’s natural resources, cultural heritage and access to the outdoors through targeted conservation, responsible stewardship and education.
Click here for a photo album of Harpswell Heritage Land Trust’s activities in 2018.
Harpswell Heritage Land Trust at a glance
Acres conserved: More than 1,600
Number of preserves and trails with public access: 17 (click here to find one!)
Number of volunteers: More than 180 (click here to get involved!)
Number of member families: More than 800 (click here to join!)
Number of children educated annually: Nearly 300
Number of public programs offered annually: More than 30 (click here for upcoming events!)
Impact on Harpswell’s quality of life: Uncountable
(these numbers were updated in January 2019)
A quick history of Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
1983: Harpswell Heritage Trust is created by the Harpswell Historical Society. Its initial purpose was to hold a historic preservation easement on the historic Tarr-Eaton House in Harpswell Center.
1992: Harpswell Heritage Trust separates from the Harpswell Historical Society and holds its first town-wide membership drive. As an all-volunteer organization, its dedicated board members pursue conservation projects and build financial support for the organization.
1998: The Trust offers its first year of Nature Day Camp. Still held annually, the camp introduces children to a variety of habitats in Harpswell through hands-on exploration and fun.
1999: The word “Land” is inserted in the organization’s name to reflect its primary activity of preserving lands.
2001: HHLT hires its first Executive Director.
2002: HHLT rents its first office space. Meetings were previously held in private homes and businesses.
2002-2003: The Special Places for Harpswell Campaign raises $1.7 million to buy Skolfield Shores Preserve and Johnson Field Preserve at Mackerel Cove, both signature open spaces that were threatened with imminent development.
2006-2007: A new office building is built on donated land, including a community meeting room.
2012: HHLT hires its first Outreach Coordinator to enhance its educational programs and outreach to the community.
2014: The Forever Fund is created as an endowment to ensure that HHLT will have the resources to care for conserved properties forever.
2018: HHLT celebrates its 35th anniversary of conservation, stewardship and education in Harpswell. HHLT hires its first Stewardship Coordinator and third staff member.
Click here for a video showing the growth in conservation land over our first 35 years.