The Sanford Springvale Mousam Way Land Trust is a nonprofit, community oriented organization dedicated to the permanent protection of local land for the benefit of the public and future generations as well as providing livable habitat for present and future generations of humans, plant and animal life in the Sanford, Maine area. It does this without cost to the town through public education and protection of significant natural resources, farmland, historic areas and scenic vistas and by working with landowners who seek to protect their land through conservation easements or by transfer of deed to the Land Trust.
Our preservation activities include:
Public access and traditional low impact uses of protected areas are preserved as well. Research is conducted to determine appropriate methods for preserving species and natural communities. Membership fees, occasional grants and donations provide the funds for our activities.
Although most of our holdings already are protected by shoreland zoning, it is critically important for these areas to have an advocate in the future when girdling development threatens them. Wetlands will serve as refuges for many upland plants that will retreat into these areas as surrounding uplands are developed. Naturalists at the University of Maine have stated that, “shoreland zoning does not address the cumulative effects of development and enforcement has been uneven.” Natural areas in other states have been obliterated or altered beyond recognition by development of densely populated neighborhoods. In the absence of an independent group to speak for these areas, real estate development, the highest and best use of land, prevails. Unlike a municipality, a land trust is legally bound to preserve these areas forever.
The Sanford Springvale Mousam Way Land Trust came into being because of two circumstances in the summer of 1999. First, the ten-year period for the creation and support of the Mousam Way Trail, a project of the Sanford Kiwanis Club, was nearing the end. There was some uncertainty about the Club’s continuation of its support for the trail project. About the same time, the Hall family who owned the land around Deering Pond in Springvale, approached Richard Stanley of the Chamber of Commerce about donating this significant piece of land to a local conservation group. None existed at that time. The solution was obvious. Create a land trust that could continue the trail work, if necessary, and protect the Deering Pond tract at the same time. The land trust became incorporated in October of 1999. Three of the original four incorporators were Kiwanis Club members. The fourth had worked on the trail.