The Town of Thomaston joined The Georges River Land Trust to add more protected property in the Thomaston Town Forest along a Greenbelt. Sixty-six acres of woodland and wetlands along the Oyster River will be held in conservation easement and never be developed. This conservation effort will ensure public access, habitat for wildlife and a protected wetland ecosystem for flood control and carbon sequestration. It joins another 100-acres already in conservation in Thomaston.
With 1500 ft of frontage on the river with high bluffs and marshy inlets, this property has been long appreciated by the community. A section of the Georges Highland Path (GHP), a footpath managed by the Georges River Land Trust, weaves through this property affording extensive views of the Oyster River. The GHP currently extends from Booker Street to Jack Baker Woods on Beechwood Street in Thomaston, predominantly on town land.
The recent conservation emerged from Thomaston’s desire to stimulate growth and economic development in the town-designated industrial area while conserving a swath of undeveloped forestland along the Oyster River. According to John Fancy, Pollution Control Superintendent, the idea formed several years ago as part of a planning exercise to identify places in town where growth could be encouraged.
“There were not a lot of options,” noted John. “But, by bringing Dragon Products LLC, Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Georges River Land Trust to the table, we were able to increase conservation along the river in exchange for allowing light industrial development in-town, on an 85-acre parcel owned by Dragon. All the partners leaned into the same vision.”
Annette Naegel, of the Georges River Land Trust added, “This project demonstrates how partners can think out of the box to identify the best places for growth and the best places for permanent conservation.”
The Georges River Land Trust’s mission is to conserve the ecosystems and traditional heritage of the Georges River watershed region through permanent land protection, stewardship, education, and outdoor experiences. GRLT is a network of conservation easements, trails, and preserves protecting more than 4,000 acres with 60+ miles of public trails. It is an equally opportunity provider.
For more information about the work of the Georges River Land Trust, please visit www.georgesriver.org.