Linking neighborhoods & improving quality of life in South Portland.
South Portland Land Trust is a nonprofit organization dedicated to these key goals:
Creating and supporting a network of trails interlinking South Portland neighborhoods to each other and to the trails of adjoining communities.
Engaging the community in park and trail use, open space protection, trail building and land stewardship.
Encouraging and supporting acquisition of priority open spaces.
If you cherish the spaciousness and beauty of South Portland's parks, marshes and trails, we encourage you to join us in caring for the land we have, and creating even more open space for the future.
You can help in many ways:
Reach out to the land trust, at sopolandtrust (at) gmail.com to explore how you can make a difference as a SPLT supporter.
More than 15,500 residents and visitors use South Portland's trails and parks each year.
SPLT has more than 300 members.
3.6% more SoPo land has been preserved since SPLT was created. A total of 399 acres is conserved in the city.
1987 - Ferry Village Neighborhood Conservation Association saw a need to have a group dedicated to open space, public access, trails and recreation. They held a forum at City Hall, invested $500 as seed money, and the South Portland Land Trust was formed as an independent, private nonprofit that fall. Tom Blake becomes the first president.
1992 - On behalf of South Portland Land Trust, City Councilor David Swander (Jacobs) introduces a Lank Bank ordinance, which passes. The South Portland Land Trust provides $500 in initial capital. Controlled by the South Portland City Council, The Land Bank has seen several improvements and, as of 2017, totals roughly $800,000.
1996 - Donald Kirkpatrick donates the Florence Street Marsh to the South Portland Land Trust.
1999 - Gilman and Muriel Ellis donate the property at the end of Mt Vernon Street to provide public pedestrian access to the Trout Brook and across it to Lawrence Lano Street.
2002 - John Lydon, Patricia Lydon, and Joanne Lineham donate several marsh properties along the Luncille Ave paper street at Spurwink Avenue on the Cape Elizabeth town line to be held for conservation by the South Portland Land Trust.
2005 - The South Portland Land Trust convenes the National Parks Service-supported West End Trails (WET) committee, an initiative to expand pedestrian facilities, trails, and trail connections in South Portland's West End.
2006 - The South Portland Land Trust leads volunteers in blazing the Clarks Pond Trail after a long period of planning and securing easements.
2007 - $45,000 in Land Bank funding is used to protect the Sawyer Street Marsh. The South Portland Land Trust signs a conservation easement with the property owners.
2007 - Curtis Jensch donates the marsh property at the end of Schooner Road to the South Portland Land Trust for conservation.
2007 - $40,000 of Land Bank funding is used to create the Trout Brook Nature Preserve. The South Portland Land Trust signs a conservation easement with the property owners.
2008 - The South Portland Land Trust signs an easement and collaborates with the City of South Portland and Maine Conservation Corps to lay out the Long Creek Trail.
2008-2009 - The South Portland Land Trust collaborates with Sappi Paper and the Maine Conservation Corps to build the Red Brook Trail and Red Brook Extension Trail to connect the Clarks Pond Trail with points further west.
2015 - The South Portland Land Trust signs a conservation easement with the City of South Portland to create and protect the new Sawyer Park Open Space.
2016 - $120,000 in Land Bank funding is invested in preserving the Dow's Woods Nature Preserve. The South Portland Land Trust signs a conservation easement with the property owners.
2017 - The South Portland Land Trust donates nearly $56,000 to the City of South Portland to build a new playground at Sawyer Park. Funds were raised in collaboration with the neighboring Congregation Bet Ha'am.
2018 - The South Portland Land Trusts partners again with the National Parks Service to initiate the second phase of the West End Trails initiative to expand pedestrian facilities, trails, and trail connections in South Portland's West End.
TODAY - The South Portland Land Trust owns six properties and holds twelve easements. We have an active board and roughly 300 members. The current president of the board is Heather Drake and the land trust has a consultant on retainer, Dugan Murphy, who works as Program Manager. We lease the small building in Mill Creek Park from the city as our office.
The South Portland Land Bank fund is still in active use. If the City of South Portland sells a piece of undeveloped land, 60% of the proceeds go into the Land Trust Fund. If the property sold is developed, 30% of the proceeds are deposited. Annually, the City puts $35,000 into the Land Bank, an investment that will cease when the account reaches $1 million.
Reflecting on 2016
A conservation easement securing into perpetuity the 9.2-acre Dow's Woods Nature Preserve was signed, protecting the land.
Congregation Bet Ha'am donates $100,000 from members for improvements to and maintenance of the new Sawyer Park.
$1,000 more than expected is raised at the annual plant sale fundraiser, co-hosted with the Community Garden.
Land trust board members started a new "Get to Know Your Trails" event series, at which attendees experience and learn the history of major trails in South Portland.
The Bug Light 5K Run & Walk experieced a great show of participation despite the unseasonably low temperature and driving rain.
A new Program Manager, Dugan Murphy of Nuf Sed, was hired and trained by the Board of Directors.
A new scholarship program is created for South Portland High School seniors involved in environmental stewardship.
A forum focused on environmental issues for South Portland City Council candidates was hosted, educating candidates and the public.
The Maine Coast Heritage Trust was engaged to assess 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.