The year 2020 is shaping up to be a noteworthy one. None of us will soon forget the current health crisis that is shaping our daily lives, but hard times also remind us of those things that bring us together as a community. In the Boothbay region, we are fortunate to have a great number of community-focused organizations that enhance our lives. Boothbay Region Land Trust (BRLT) is one of those organizations, and as it marks its fortieth year, its services are as important as at any time in its history.
Boothbay Region Land Trust (BRLT) was founded in 1980 when a group of residents banded together in an effort to preserve and restore Little River Dam in East Boothbay. From those humble beginnings, the land trust quickly developed into an essential community organization with a strong focus on preservation and public access. In 1983, BRLT received a donation of 23 acres on Barters Island, which became the nonprofit’s first public nature preserve: Porter Preserve. Today, BRLT has grown to encompass more than 35 miles of hiking trails on 26 public preserves, including its new permanent home at Oak Point Farm. While BRLT was initially built and run solely by volunteers, today five year-round staff members work to support the nonprofit. The organization still relies on generous and hard-working volunteers, now over 100 strong, who provide year-round support to keep our preserves beautiful and our programming dynamic.
During the early years of the land trust, the summary of activities and purposes were listed as follows: “(a) To engage in and promote the preservation of the natural resources of the Boothbay Region; (b) to engage in and promote the scientific study of and to inform the public regarding local natural resources; (c) to acquire, by gift, purchase or otherwise, interests in real estate and personal property, and (d) to use all such property for conservational, educational, recreational or scientific purposes only.” Forty years later, this work continues. BRLT’s current mission is “To conserve for the public benefit the natural habitat, scenic beauty and working land of the Boothbay region.” Although the statements differ in length, the core message of both reflects a focus on maintaining our natural resources in the Boothbay Region, and providing public access and public benefits through our work.
Looking forward, BRLT seeks to honor the hard work and success of the past forty years by continuing to be a local resource for conservation, public access, environmental education, and outdoor recreation. The next three years in particular will be focused on enhancing our stewardship across our preserves, developing our educational programming, and extending our community engagement. BRLT is also planning to commemorate our 40th anniversary with a number of great programs this summer. More information will be posted to the land trust website at bbrlt.org in the coming weeks and months, though modifications may be made as necessary based on the latest public health recommendations. The Boothbay region is truly a special place with incredible natural beauty, and our community can count on BRLT to continue protecting this peninsula and providing enjoyment of our outdoor spaces for generations to come!