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South Portland Land Trust e-Newsletter

posted Mar 17, 2017, 9:02 AM by South Portland Land Trust

Click here to read our newsletter, published March 17, 2017!

Accomplishments in 2016 and Plans for 2017

posted Jan 26, 2017, 4:58 PM by South Portland Land Trust

Ten Best Accomplishments in 2016



The South Portland Land Trust Board of Directors is proud to announce the ten best accomplishments last year in achieving our mission to expand trail networks and conserve open space in our community!


  • Dow's Woods protected: Former Land Trust President Steve Jocher signed the conservation easement securing into perpetuity the 9.2-acre Dow's Woods Nature Preserve.  This followed South Portland Planning Board approval on August 23rd.
  • Sawyer Park funding: The Land Trust received almost $100,000 in donations from members of Congregation Bet Ha'am for initial improvements and ongoing maintenance of the new Sawyer Park at the corner of Main and Westbrook Streets in Thornton Heights.
  • Successful plant sale fundraiser: The annual plant sale fundraiser that the Land Trust hosts with the Community Garden Collective each year raised almost $1,000 more than last year!
  • More reached at annual meeting: The South Portland Land Trust Annual Meeting in November hosted more members than any other annual meeting in the board's collective memory and served as a successful forum for gathering input and updating membership.
  • New education program: Land Trust board members Sarah Stickney and Heather Drake started a new "Get to Know Your Trails" event series, at which attendees experience and learn the history of highlighted trails in South Portland.
  • Successful 5k fundraiser despite weather: The Bug Light 5K Run & Walk experieced a great show of participation despite the unseasonably low temperature and driving rain.
  • New Program Manager hired: The Land Trust Board of Directors successfully hired and trained new Program Manager, Dugan Murphy of Nuf Sed, who hit the ground running last March.
  • New scholarship program: Land Trust board member Bethany Woodworth created a new scholarship program for South Portland High School seniors involved in environmental stewardship.
  • Engaged city council candidated: Land Trust board members Richard Rottkov and Steve Jocher organized a forum focused on environmental issues for South Portland City Council candidates.  The Land Trust organized similar events in 2008 and 2009.
  • Organizational assessment completed: The board of directors sought consultation from professionals connected to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust in assessing the strength of the Land Trust's internal organization.  This process provided the board with a checklist of improvements to increase the organization's sustainability in achieving its mission.

Looking Forward to 2017



In planning our events, projects, and programs for 2017, the South Portland Land Trust Board of Directors would like to share these highlights.  Save the dates on your calendar and look for details to be announced later in the year!


  • Improvements to Sawyer Park: South Portland Land Trust Board President Kate Lewis is helping to lead the effort in collaboration with Congregation Bet Ha'am and the South Portland Parks Department to plan for and complete improvements to Sawyer Park this year, including a playscape for young children that could open this spring.
  • Growing stewardship of South Portland's trails: The board of directors recently decided to focus in 2017 on enhancing stewardship of South Portland's trail system.  This may include more frequent monitoring, cleanup activities, and/or maintenance events.  We will need community volunteers to adopt trails that they will monitor and help maintain.  If you are interested in helping to monitor, clean, and maintain trails in South Portland, please reply to this email with your interest so we can help you get involved.
  • Improved access to Dow's Woods: Now that public access to Dow's Woods Nature Preserve has been secured, we will be working to build out trail access into the area as the nearby housing development takes shape.
  • "Get to Know Your Trails" continues: Land Trust board members Heather Drake and Sarah Stickney will continue the "Get to Know Your Trails" series with events tentatively planned in March, July, and December.
  • Earth Day: We plan to host a trail cleanup event on April 22 in recognition of Earth Day.
  • Plant Sale: We are planning with the Community Garden Collective to host the ever-popular plant sale this May as a fundraiser for both organizations.
  • National Trails Day: We plan to host an event on June 3 to highlight one or more of South Portland's public trails.  The event will coincide with National Trails Day.
  • Greendrinks: We will be hosting a social event and fundraiser in collaboration with Portland Greendrinks on August 8 at Southern Maine Community College.
  • National Public Lands Day: We will be hosting a trail maintenance event on September 30 to coincide with National Public Lands Day.

“Hidden Jewels” Recognized at Annual Meeting

posted Nov 30, 2016, 7:07 PM by South Portland Land Trust   [ updated Nov 30, 2016, 7:11 PM ]

Hidden Jewels of South Portland Sample Presentation Slide

Forty members of the South Portland Land Trust and other residents of South Portland met at Fore River Brewing Company on Wednesday, November 16 to celebrate that organization’s recent successes and to learn more about outdoor opportunities in our community.  

The event was organized by Heather Drake and Sarah Stickney, both members of the South Portland Land Trust Board of Directors.  “Fore River turned out to be an excellent venue for our gathering,” said Drake.  “We were so pleased when they offered their space to us.”

Outgoing President, Steve Jocher, updated the group on the Land Trust’s recent success in establishing the new Dow’s Woods Nature Preserve off Highland Avenue near the South Portland High School, welcomed newly-elected board members, and thanked those leaving the board.  Sarah Stickney was elected as as Secretary, Heather Drake as Vice President, and Kate Lewis as President.  Steve Jocher and Mary Linneman are staying on the board, but stepping down from their officer positions as President and Secretary, respectively.  David Rooker will be leaving the board.

“I’m so grateful for the time and energy Steve Jocher has dedicated to the Land Trust over several years,” Lewis said.  “Under his leadership, we protected two new key parcels in South Portland, and have a very well-organized plan that I hope to work with new leaders to execute over the next several months.”

Continuing board members include Peggy Stewart (Treasurer), Mary Linneman, Charlie Baldwin, Tom Blake, Richard Rottkov, Jeff Ryan, Bethany Woodworth, and Bill Laidley.

Land Trust board member and South Portland Mayor, Tom Blake, shared a presentation of the “Hidden Jewels of South Portland” - twenty-nine lesser-known sites around the community, their location, and their histories.

Land Trust Program Manager, Dugan Murphy, sees the annual meeting as an opportunity to wrap up a successful year and to look forward to the next.  “I’m excited to run with the energy from this gathering and turn it into another successful year for trails and open spaces in South Portland,” Murphy said.

Save the Date: Land Trust Gathering & Annual Meeting Nov 16

posted Oct 24, 2016, 12:51 PM by South Portland Land Trust   [ updated Oct 24, 2016, 12:54 PM ]

Fore River Brewing Company Building
Wed, Nov 16, 6-8PM


Fore River Brewing Company, 45 Huntress Ave, South Portland


South Portland Land Trust members and other members of the public are invited to attend our social gathering and annual meeting. It's a great opportunity for SPLT members and non-members alike to get to know each other, hear a great presentation, and learn more about what we do and how we function as an organization.

This year we will feature Mayor and SPLT Board member Tom Blake as he shares his "Hidden Jewels of South Portland" presentation. We will learn where these hidden jewels are and the history associated with them, hopefully piquing interest for community members to explore on their own!
The SPLT will also be holding elections for both incoming board members and new board officers. The meeting will open with a brief business meeting, followed by the elections, and Mayor Blake's presentation.
The SPLT is partnering with the small business community and holding the event at Fore River Brewing Company on 45 Huntress Avenue in South Portland.
In order to help us get an idea of how many guests we can expect, please RSVP to You don't need to register or commit, but we need help deciding how much food to bring!
We are looking forward to a very informative and fun night together!


Get more info: Contact Dugan Murphy at or 207-956-0207.

Land Trust Members Control Erosion Along Long Creek

posted Sep 27, 2016, 12:22 PM by South Portland Land Trust

Chip and Sue Woodson
As part of a celebration of National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 24, South Portland Land Trust board member and South Portland Mayor Tom Blake joined Land Trust members, Chip and Sue Woodson, at Long Creek Trail to control erosion along the trail and the banks of the waterway.  

Because the trail runs along the steep banks of Long Creek, erosion is a constant issue, despite the large oak, pine, and maple trees along the trail with their own stabilizing root systems.  The trail now stands in better condition for all to enjoy!

The 23rd annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD), is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Through NPLD, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) works to connect people to public lands in their community, inspire environmental stewardship, and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation, and general health

October 4 Forum for City Council Candidates

posted Sep 26, 2016, 3:23 PM by South Portland Land Trust

South Portland City Hall

The South Portland Land Trust will give candidates for the South Portland City Council an opportunity to present their views on a wide range of environmental issues, including those related to the use of open space in the city, when it hosts a forum on October 4 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at South Portland City Hall. The Land Trust also hosted forums for city council candidates in 2008 & 2009.

The Land Trust has invited each of the seven candidates to participate: Maxine Beecher, Richard Carter, James H. Gilboy, Susan Henderson, Katherine White Lewis, Louis B. Maietta, Jr. and Michael Pock. Each is vying for the two at-large seats. Beecher is the incumbent, while Tom Blake currently holds the other at-large seat. Mayor Blake is termed out, completing his third term on the council.

“Our previous forums revealed a great deal about the candidates’ positions on a wide range of environmental issues,” said Steve Jocher, President of the SPLT. “The use of open space and other environmental issues continue to be hot topics in South Portland and in municipalities throughout the nation. Taxpayers want to know their candidates’ views, and that is our intent with this forum.”

Potential question topics include funding the South Portland Land Bank, the South Portland Open Space Plan, local vs. home rule, land acquisition bond questions, trails and maintenance responsibilities, pets and open space, and more.

Steve Jocher, President of the SPLT, will serve as moderator. The public is invited to attend the forum and ask questions following the prepared questions portion.

You're Invited: Long Creek Trail Cleanup on National Public Lands Day

posted Sep 17, 2016, 11:32 AM by South Portland Land Trust   [ updated Sep 17, 2016, 11:54 AM ]

National Public Lands Day Logo

As part of a celebration of National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 24, the South Portland Land Trust (SPLT) Board of Directors invites the public to join them at Long Creek Trail for a cleanup event.  SPLT board member and South Portland Mayor, Tom Blake, will meet other volunteers at the Long Creek Trailhead at 9AM that morning and guide them various trail maintenance projects.

Volunteers interested in sharing this tangible impact on quality of life in South Portland are invited to meet at 9AM at the trailhead behind Youth Alternatives at the end of Lydia Lane in South Portland.  Tom Blake will bring tools to share.  Volunteers may bring their own work gloves.

The Long Creek Trailhead is located near the Portland International Jetport at the end of Lydia Ave, off Brickhill Avenue, which itself is off Westbrook Street.  Turn onto Brick Hill Road off Westbrook Street and bear left onto Lydia Lane, proceed to its end, and park in the Youth Alternatives’ Ingraham back lot.  Look for the trail sign and take the steps down the slope to the trail.  

The 23rd annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD), is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Through NPLD, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) works to connect people to public lands in their community, inspire environmental stewardship, and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation, and general health

To encourage people to join in and visit their public lands, NPLD is a fee-free day for all federal public lands and many state parks. Whether you volunteer on NPLD, enjoy some boating, hiking, fishing, or camping, or simply learn more about your public lands and the plants and wildlife that live there, we invite you to take this day to enjoy the great outdoors and celebrate the lands that give us so much.

Invite your friends on Facebook!

Get to Know Spring Point Shoreway Sep 9

posted Aug 4, 2016, 10:30 AM by South Portland Land Trust

Spring Point Shoreway

On Friday, September 9th at 9am, join South Portland Land Trust board members Heather Drake and Sarah Stickney on an informative walk along the Spring Point Shoreway.  Participants will learn the history of the area and get a preview of a section of the Bug Light 5k. 

This event is part of the Get to Know Your Trails series.

Everyone is welcome.  This walk is geared toward the whole family, from infants to grandparents -- well-behaved dogs included!  The walk will be fairly easy (lasting no longer than one hour) along a paved trail.  Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water and snacks.  

Meet at 9am at the corner of Lighthouse Circle and Fort Road near the SMCC campus.

See you there!

Phoebe Little Awarded South Portland Land Trust Scholarship

posted Jul 12, 2016, 6:26 PM by South Portland Land Trust

Phoebe Little
On June 10 in the South Portland High School auditorium, student Phoebe Little received a $500 scholarship from the South Portland Land Trust.  Little was chosen for this award based on her dedication to outdoor leadership, education, and conservation.  This is the first scholarship awarded by this organization.

“The South Portland Land Trust Board of Directors created this new scholarship program to support local students with a dedication to environmental stewardship,” said Land Trust Board Member Bethany Woodworth.  “Phoebe is a great match.”

Little’s interest is deeply influenced by a summer residence experience with the Coastal Studies for Girls Marine Science and Leadership School in her sophomore year.  She has continued her involvement with the school and was later selected for their Alumni Gratitude Award.  Last summer she was selected to be part of the Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership Program which included research and backpacking in Baxter State Park.

“It was an incredible surprise to be named the first recipient of the South Portland Land Trust scholarship,” Little said in an email to Woodworth.

The $500 scholarship award includes a copy of Jeff Ryan's new book Appalachian Odyssey, a South Portland trail map, and a membership with the South Portland Land Trust.  

Little will be attending Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in the fall, but will continue to call South Portland home.  “I’m so grateful to have grown up in a community of people who value and work to preserve Maine’s green spaces,” she said.

The South Portland Land Trust is a nonprofit organization committed to linking neighborhoods and improving quality of life in South Portland through expanding the city’s trail network, conserving open space, and educating the public on issues related to trails and open space.  They hold sixteen properties and easements within the City of South Portland to preserve natural habitats, trail access, and open space for public enjoyment.

First "Get to Know Your Trails" Event a Success

posted Jul 1, 2016, 7:25 AM by South Portland Land Trust

Get to Know Hinckley Park     Get to Know Hinckley Park

On Friday, June 24, South Portland Land Trust board members Heather Drake and Sarah Stickney led a group of fifteen on an informative walk through the trail system at Hinckley Park.  Heather and Sarah shared maps and history of the area on the walk and participants shared their own information about the park and its history as well. 

This event is the first in a series of "Get to Know Your Trails" walks through South Portland's trail system.  Stay in touch for information about future walks!

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