Bethel Maine History Ė The Bethel Journals

Mahoosuc Land Trust



Chronology of activities as a conservation land trust

1988 to 2009


October 13, 2009




October 1988 - Community Visioning Conference The need for a community land trust is identified at a Community Visioning Conference held in Bethel. The Mahoosuc Land Trust, the Mahoosuc Arts Council, the Bethel Conservation Commission and the Bethel Retirement Community are all outcomes of the Conference.


March 27, 1989 - Articles of Incorporation MLT Articles of Incorporation are approved by the Maine Secretary of State.


October 22, 1989 - First Annual Meeting Mahoosuc Land Trust holds its first annual meeting. Kirk Siegel is elected president; Bill Pooley, secretary, and Marcel Polak, treasurer. The first board includes Tim Carter, Andi Clones, Betsey Cooper, Marie Hickey, Keith Hodsdon, Sally Rollinson (Taylor), Jim Sysko and Jim Yarnell.


December 7, 1989 - Tax Exempt Status Mahoosuc Land Trust receives 501 (c) 3 designation from the Internal Revenue Service. The designation enables donors to claim tax deductions for their gifts to the trust.


May 31, 1990 - Schoolís Canoe Landing The first land protection project is completed.Eva Schools of Bethel donates seven acres of land including 1,000 feet of Androscoggin River frontage to the Mahoosuc Land Trust in memory of her late husband, George Schools. The project is a collaborative effort with the Friends of the Androscoggin.


Summer, 1990 - First Newsletter published


December 27, 1990 - Scruton Easement The first conservation easement is completed protecting the 204-acre Scruton Tree Farm in Upton. The easement is a gift of The Rev. Norman and Marion Scruton of Anacortes, WA. Rev. Scruton served as the minister of churches in Errol, Newry and Upton during the 1940s and 50s and had a lifelong fondness for the Lake Umbagog Region.


August 20, 1991 - Marcel Polak of Woodstock is hired as part-time executive director, the first employee of the Mahoosuc Land Trust. The Betterment Fund supports the new staff position.


October 10, 1991 - Kendall Island Becky Kendall of Bethel donates a 35-acre island near Newtís Landing in West Bethel. The Island is named Maurice Kendall Island in memory of her husband, who planted the pine plantation on the island and who, like Becky, had a life-long appreciation of the out-of-doors.


June 15, 1992 - Williamson Easement Buster and Ginny Williamson of Upton donate a conservation easement on their 133 acre woodlot in Newry. The easement includes the site of the Williamson homestead and is now a very highly productive woodlot and the site of many fine cross country ski trails.


February 26, 1993 - Philbrook Islands Roy and Mary Newton of Gorham, New Hampshire, donate the Philbrook Islands totaling 21 acres in Gilead to the Mahoosuc Land Trust. One of the islands contains a fine example of a mixed hardwood floodplain forest.


June 11, 1993 - Pat Angevine Pat Angevine of Upton is chosen the second president of the Mahoosuc Land Trust.


November, 1994 - Ken Bohr of Bethel is chosen as the third president of the Mahoosuc Land Trust.


1994 - MLT LogoArla Patch of Woodstock designs the Mahoosuc Land Trust logo.


July 27, 2005 - Songo Pond EasementThe Songo Pond easement is concluded. The easement protects 40 acres including 3,200 feet of frontage on Songo Pond, owned for many years by the Rich Family of Roanoke, Virginia. The property was initially donated to the Nature Conservancy, which initiated the conservation easement before selling the property.


September 3, 1995 - Intervale GatewayThe Intervale Gateway project is completed. It is the first Mahoosuc Land Trust project requiring fundraising. The MLT Board successfully raises $60,000 to purchase the Gateway Preserve and $12,000 for its long term stewardship. The purchase preserves the scenic entry into Bethel Village.


December 1, 1995 - Jim Mitchell succeeds Marcel Polak as executive director.


July 1, 1996 - Merger with the Friends of the Androscoggin†† The Mahoosuc Land Trust completes a merger with the Friends of the Androscoggin.


September 1, 1996 - Gateway Hayfield Restoration The Intervale Gateway hayfield restoration begins. The Gateway field contains highly productive agricultural soils, but had become overgrown with weeds and shrubs over the years. MLT receives funding from the Davis Conservation Fund and the Oxford County Farm Service Agency to restore the western part of the field. Les Robertson of Newry plows, cultivates and re-seeds the field with timothy grass and clover. The next summer the field yields 1,108 bales of hay.


September 4, 1997 - Newtís LandingRoy and Mary Newton of Gorham, New Hampshire, donate Newtís Landing to the Mahoosuc Land Trust in memory of Royís father, the late Bert Newton of West Bethel. Newtís Landing is the second gift of land from the Newtons.


December 18, 1997 - Hay CrossingBecky Kendall donates the Hay Crossing, including 735 feet of frontage on the Androscoggin River, to the Mahoosuc Land Trust. Hay Crossing includes the site of the ford between Kendall Island and the mainland historically used to transport agricultural supplies and products to and from the island when it was used for agriculture. The Crossingprovides easy access to the island for the land trust.


October 14, 1998 - Trade Lands†† Michael and Priscilla Dolan, formerly of Bethel, donate the first of two parcels of land to the land trust for the purpose of re-sale. The properties include land located in South Paris and Woodstock. The proceeds of the sales are used to support MLTís land protection program.


October 24, 1999- John LabanKen Bohr steps down after serving four years as president. He is succeeded by John Laban, the fourth president of the Mahoosuc Land Trust.


December 27, 1999 - Willis IslandHelen Dolloff of Hanover donates 12 acre Willis Island to the Mahoosuc Land Trust. The island, located in the Androscoggin River at Hanover, includes prime wildlife habitat.


December 12, 2000 - Androscoggin Canoe TrailMahoosuc Land Trust establishes the Androscoggin Canoe Trail. The trail includes a series of access points to the river between Shelburne and Rumford. The project is supported by the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program. Becka Roolf, a National Park Service employee, works with the Canoe Trail Committee over the next two years to complete the project.


December 23, 2000 - Gateway ExtensionThe Mahoosuc Land Trust completes a successful capital campaign to raise $33,000 for the purpose of buying four and a half acres abutting the Intervale Gateway.


May 31, 2001 - Moranís LandingThe Canoe Trail Committee successfully submits an application to the Land for Maineís Future (LMF) Program for funds to purchase Moranís Landing, a five acre parcel at the confluence of the Androscoggin and Bear Rivers in Hanover. Bob and Cynthia Laux sell the property to the land trust at less than fair market value. The Department of Conservation and LMF funds complete the purchase.


October 28, 2001 - Landon FakeLandon Fake becomes the fifth president of the MLT.


November 14, 2001 - Local Knowledge SeriesThe Local Knowledge Lecture Series begins with a presentation by Seabury Lyons, a Bethel resident and research associate with Bat Conservation International.


October 14, 2003 - Frenchmanís HoleMLT launches the Frenchmanís Hole Project.The Maine Department of Conservation submits an application to LMF for funding to purchase Frenchmanís Hole in Riley.Frenchmanís Hole is an extremely popular swimming and picnicking site, having been used by local residents for generations. The new property is owned and managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and becomes part of the existing Mahoosuc Unit of the Maine Public Reserve Lands. MLT agrees to raise the local match funds for the departmentís LMF grant and to be the caretaker of the property.


April, 2003 - Moranís Landing ImprovementsMLT receives Maine Recreational Trails Program funding to make improvements to Moranís Landing. A parking lot and handicap access trail to the river are built.


October 29, 2003 - General Alger Farm Easement The General Alger Farm Easement is completed. This easement will protect 130 acres surrounding the historic General Alger Farm on Route 232 in Woodstock.


October 14, 2004 - Mahoosuc Initiative The Mahoosuc Land Trust formally joins the Mahoosuc Initiative, a collaboration of community, regional and national organizations, working together to promote conservation and sustainable development in the Mahoosuc Region of Maine and New Hampshire.


Fall 2004 - Bethel Area Trails The Mahoosuc Land Trust partners with the Bethel Area Trails Committee to improve pedestrian access to Bethel and to extend the Bethel Pathway to nearby communities.


May 12, 2005 - Maggieís Nature Park Easement: Margaret Ring of Greenwood donates an 86 acre easement on her land near South Pond in Greenwood. Mrs. Ring subsequently donates the fee to the Town of Greenwood, which operates the undeveloped Maggieís Nature Park at the site.


October 3, 2005 - Steve Wight becomes the sixth president of the Mahoosuc Land Trust.


February 25, 2005 - Stewart Family Preserve Bob Stewart of Cumberland donates 485 acres of land, including the three summits of Puzzle Mountain and five miles of the route of the Grafton Loop Trail, to the Mahoosuc Land Trust. The gift doubles the acreage owned by Mahoosuc Land Trust and protects an environmentally sensitive mountain top and an important hiking trail.


March 13, 2006 - Goodnow IslandPatty Dooen of Bethel donates nine acres of Goodnow Island in the Androscoggin River at West Bethel to the Mahoosuc Land Trust. The island is recognized for its wild plentiful wild grapes and excellent wildlife.


2006 and 2007 - The Rumford Whitecap Mountain Preserve The Mahoosuc Land Trust launches a project to purchase and protect 750 acres of land on Rumford Whitecap Mountain. The open summit of the mountain has a 360 degree view, is abundant with blueberries in the summer, and provides fine telemark skiing in winter. MLT raises $490,000 to match LMF funding and acquires the preserve on March 31, 2007.


June 14, 2007 - Grafton Loop Trail Parking Area Bob Stewart of Cumberland donates land on Route 26 in Newry to be used for public parking by Grafton Loop Trail hikers.


October, 2007 - Bethel Pathway Extension The Bethel Pathway is extended crossing the Androscoggin River on a new pedestrian bridge, following the river to North Road.


December 26, 2007 - Chandler Family Woodlot John and Martha Chandler of Laconia, New Hampshire, and Henry Chandler of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, donate a conservation easement on their 212-acre woodlot in Andover. The property is the site of a network of historic carriage trails built in the 1880s.


September, 2008 - The Twenty Five / Twenty Five Endowment Challenge Grant Mahoosuc Land Trust receives a $25,000 challenge grant from the Maine Community Foundation. The organization is challenged to raise $25,000 for its endowment to be matched by a $25,000 grant from the foundation.


September 2008 - Land Trust Excellence GrantMahoosuc Land Trust receives a grant of up to $18,000 from the Maine Land Trust Network and the Land Trust Alliance for the purpose of preparing the organization to apply for accreditation by the National Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The organization is currently reviewing its policies and procedures in preparation for the accreditation application in 2012.


March 2009 - Bethel Pathway Extension to the Intervale GatewayThe Trails Committee receives a major grant from the Maine Recreational Trails Program to extend the Bethel Pathway onto the Intervale Gateway. The planning for the project is currently underway.



July 15, 2009 - First Mountain Easement: Larry Ely and Jennifer Lawson of Falmouth donate an easement on 130 acres of scenic First Mountain in Shelburne, NH. This is the Mahoosuc Land Trustís first land protection project in New Hampshire. The project is part of a community based collaborative effort to protect the rural character of Shelburne.



Source:Compiled by the Mahoosuc Land Trust, Inc on the occasion of reaching its 20th Anniversary.


The Bethel Journals

Donald G. Bennett

PO Box 763

Bethel, Maine 04217