Town Farm Easement

History:

This land was part of a larger purchase by Joshua Hanson at a land auction in the 1790’s. Shortly afterwards he sold the piece now known as the Town Farm to Zebulon Beal. The Beal family and others farmed it until 1850 when the Town of Sanford bought it for the support of the indigent. The original farmhouse was torn down and the present town infirmary, called Mountain View, was built. This building and six acres surrounding it are excluded from the easement agreement. In the 1970’s a farm pond near the infirmary was dug and stocked with bass. Currently beehives are located on the western side of the pond.

Today the farm is leased to McDougal Orchards (descendants of Joshua Hanson). They use it to grow crops and pasture animals. Formerly they operated cross country ski trails on the land. Public access is limited and requires permission of McDougal Orchards.

The Town Farm was a matching part of a Land For Maine’s Future grant for the purchase of the development rights for the entire Hanson Farm. This land trust became the holder of the Agricultural Conservation Easement for the Town Farm (excluding the infirmary). The Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition is a third party to the easement.

Significance:

This land together with Hanson Farm is “Farmland Forever.” Some of the most productive agricultural soil in the area is found here. As the only protected farmland on the ridge it will provide a sense of Sanford’s rural beginnings long into the future. Roughly one-third of the land is used to grow forage, raspberries, peaches and vegetables. About two-thirds of the property is very rocky, steep woodland with red oak as the dominant species. Regenerating pines and hemlocks are becoming established after logging in the 1970’s. Three small ponds are located on the land. Two, manmade ones, hold water most of the year and the third is a natural ephemeral pool. All three support populations of wood frogs and spring peepers. A forested portion of this land appears to be suitable habitat for reintroducing the American chestnut, a project proposed by this land trust and supported by the forest management plan produced for Hansen Farm (McDougal Orchards).

Management Plan:

Our only requirement is to monitor on a regular basis to detect violations of the easement provisions.