January 12, 2018

Learning curve progresses as Raymond community adjust to new management of lands with Loon Echo Land Trust by Lorraine Glowczak

The snowmobile bridge built on Tenney River
The Raymond Board of Selectmen’s meeting occurred on Tuesday, January 9 and included a report and discussion presented by Thom Perkins, Executive Director of Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) as well as Sheila Bourque, Board Member and Secretary of LELT.

Perkins and Bourque were available to clarify some misunderstandings and concerns the Board had at their November meeting regarding the conservation easement that is maintained and owned by the Boy Scouts/Pine Tree Council, as well the the Raymond Community Forest, which is owned by LELT.

In the first case of the conservation easement was the Board’s concern surrounding the removal of a snowmobile bridge on Tenney River. “The Boy Scouts (BSA) negotiated a contract with LELT for the conservation easement,” explained Perkins. “LELT is the holder of the easement and as such has the legal responsibility of monitoring its terms and conditions. They (BSA) admittedly made a mistake in allowing the bridge. The Boy Scouts worked with the snowmobilers to rectify the situation and LELT is not the organization that tore down the bridge.”

Example of an easement permitted bog bridge
Perkins further explained that a bridge proposal was offered by LELT that would work in conjunction
with the easement contract, but both BSA and the snowmobilers decided against the proposed bridge option.

An excerpt of the Tenney River Conservation Easement that was signed by LELT and BSA states as follows:

C. Additional Structures
No additional structures of any kind, temporary or permanent, may be located beneath, on or above the Protected Property, except however, the Owner reserves the following rights:
(ii) To construct, maintain, repair and replace minor structures to enhance the opportunity for low-impact outdoor recreation and education (in accordance with Paragraph 7), including but not limited to such structures . . . bog bridges . . .
(iv) Notwithstanding the foregoing, high-impact outdoor recreational and educational structures are prohibited . . .

In the case of the Raymond Community Forest, Board Selectman Joe Bruno shared the following concerns (as was stated in the November meeting minutes):

“When Loon Echo Land Trust and Raymond got into a union to purchase the Raymond Community Forest, I specifically said to Carrie Wallia (former Loon Echo Land Trust Executive Director and Raymond Community Forest Campaign Steering Committee Member), and she is gone, as long as you can ensure me that people who have traditional uses, hunting, snowmobiling, any outdoor use will not be compromised. She assured me that that was the case. Now they are posting the land. They don’t want any mechanized vehicles out there. Is a mechanized vehicle a snowmobile? I think so. I am thinking that the next step is they are going to outlaw hunting on that land.”

Raymond Community Forest, a fee owned land and property of LELT, is a private land being managed for public benefit. 

RCV is not "posted" but boundary markers are available to show boundaries of the property
Bourque explained that snowmobiling and ATV’s are allowed on some of LELT’s other properties. 

“We also allow hunting on all of our properties whether we are required to or not.
This is an LELT Board policy. Loon Echo is not going to outlaw hunting nor other traditional Maine outdoor uses” Bourque said.

“What cannot be allowed are private trails being created by others on the land,” Bourque continued. “We are willing to work with any organized group who would like to discuss snowmobile trails; that includes planning, building and maintenance.”

http://www.downeastsharpening.com/It was agreed between all parties that a learning curve is taking place among all involved and that communication is key in understanding data regarding conservation easements and land trust ownerships. 

LELT is a nationally accredited land trust.

For more information regarding LELT, contact Thom Perkins at 207-647-4352 or to speak to the Town of Raymond regarding this or other concerns or questions, contact the town manager’s office at 207-655-9001.

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