Kennebec Land Trust purchases 120 acres in Fayette for public recreation, timber harvesting

The Kennebec Land Trust has acquired 120 acres in Fayette which the public can use for recreational purposes. Photo courtesy of Kennebec Land Trust

FAYETTE – The Kennebec Land Trust acquired 120 acres of the Jean E. (Wheeler) Hewett property, bringing the area of ​​protected and preserved land owned by the trust to 7,450 acres and providing Fayette with more public land for recreation.

The land was owned by the Hewett family and had been in the family for generations.

Jean Hewett’s son Ron decided to sell the land because “they needed the money,” he said in a statement released by the Kennebec Land Trust to media.

He said working with the land trust “was the best way to keep it (the land) as it is”.

“My dad wanted us to keep working the land,” said Ron Hewett, “but to do it the right way.”

The 120 acres, known as the Oak Hill Conservation Area, are on Norton Road and on a ‘ridge line just above Echo Lake and a mature deciduous and evergreen forest adjacent to Hales. Brook, ”according to the Land Trust.

The trust purchased the land for $ 250,000, using money from two grants and donations from community members. The trust closed the sale last Thursday.

The total cost for the land trust is $ 309,000, which includes stewardship funds to cover monitoring, new trails, bog bridging and local taxes.

Members and supporters of the land trust have already pledged or donated $ 262,554, officials said. The trust is to raise an additional $ 46,446 through private donations and grants.

The Land Trust is to manage and oversee the land, while the Hewett family will continue to oversee a sugar bush operation on the land.

According to Theresa Kerchner, executive director of the land trust, the Kennebec Land Trust must take care of a “precious wood resource”. The organization will pay taxes on the land.

“Rather than cutting down trees every 20 to 30 years,” Kerchner said, “we will manage (the forest) to grow big trees with a lot of value, where you can get a better return to the market.”

Kerchner said Maine no longer has much mature forest, where trees can grow for 80 to 250 years, even though 89% of the state is wooded.

Growing trees longer before harvesting can increase the economic and ecological value of trees.

“We don’t need to import lumber from British Columbia or Central America or New Zealand,” Kerchner said. “We have so many precious wood resources here. It’s good for the forest and for those looking for work. It reduces the transport of carbon all over the world. We can increase the profit from local wood.

The Land Trust plans to design a new trail system, which may be open in time for the property’s grand opening on August 18, 2022, and open up the area for students to visit and study.

Kerchner said the trust was planning a “bio blitz, in which environmentalists, biologists, bird and reptile experts and others would investigate the area to see what they find.”

“Our job is to benefit the public and help with the natural resources of the community,” Kerchner said.

She added that anyone can walk the trails or survey the area now that the land is available for public use.

City Manager Mark Robinson de Fayette said the community is grateful to the land trust for the work they have done in the community.

In a small town like Fayette, he said, “the attractiveness of the land” and the “miles of coastal land” draw people to the area and encourage many to buy summer properties year round. , especially because Fayette has few business opportunities.

“It’s a nice little town,” said Robinson. “Maine is fortunate to have many municipalities like Fayette, and efforts are being made in those municipalities to retain, depending on the activity of their land trusts.

“We are fortunate that the Kennebec Land Trust is giving so much and helping to conserve the large amount of dirt tracks. “

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