September 22, 2023

Transition begins for Presumpscot Regional Land Trust after nearly a decade and more than 1,000 acres conserved

By Ed Pierce

After nearly a decade of leading the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, Rachelle Curran Apse will be leaving the organization’s Executive Director role this winter to move with her family to Cape Town, South Africa.

Presumpscot Regional Land Trust Executive Director
Rachelle Curran Apse, right, and PRLT Program Manager
Toby Jacobs walk through a trail at the new East Windham
Conservation Project in Windham, which will be opening
soon. Curran Apse is moving with her family to South
Africa and will be leaving the land trust at the end of the
Curran Apse said that she is proud of what has been accomplished during her time with the Land Trust.

“It has been such an honor to serve in the leadership of the Land Trust, expanding conservation and trails while connecting people with nature close to home,” she said. “Our Land Trust has grown exponentially in the last decade, and it is only possible due to the hundreds of volunteers, members, supporters, and community partners.”

The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust primarily serves Windham, Gorham, Gray, Standish, and Westbrook and in the last decade, it has grown to more than 500 supporting families, accumulating soon to be nearly 3,000 acres of conserved lands, and more than 30 miles of trails that are free and open to the public. In addition to land stewardship, the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust also monitors the water quality of the Presumpscot River watershed, coordinates the 28-mile Sebago to the Sea Trail, and provides educational programming to hundreds of children, students, and families in the area each year.

Presumpscot Regional Land Trust was founded in 1986 and has conserved land in Gorham, Gray, Sebago, Standish, Windham, and Westbrook. The Windham Land Trust was founded in 2000 and had conserved lands in Gorham, Gray, and Windham. Gorham Trails Inc, a town land trust in Gorham, had conserved lands in Gorham, Windham, and Westbrook. The three land trusts shared much of the same coverage area, along with many members and values, making the three organizations a natural fit to merge. In October 2016, members of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, Windham Land Trust, and Presumpscot River Watch voted to merge as one organization with the name Presumpscot Regional Land Trust. In September of 2017, members of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust and Gorham Trails Inc voted to incorporate all Gorham Trails Inc.-conserved lands within the auspices of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust.

In the last decade, the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust has acted to protect Lowell Preserve in collaboration with the Town of Windham so it will forever stay undeveloped with five-plus miles of trails. The Land Trust is also about to conserve the East Windham Conservation Project in collaboration with the Town of Windham. The organization is currently in the process of building 10 new miles of trails for the East Windham Conservation Project. In total, the Land Trust will have conserved over 1,000 acres of land in Windham with 15-plus miles of trails added in the last three years.

The leadership exhibited by Curran Apse during her time with the PRLT in undeniable.

“Rachelle has led the land trust through the transformational change from an all-volunteer to a professionally led organization,” said Matt Streeter, Co-President of the PRLT Board of Directors. “She built and cultivated the processes that have made us more effective and earned national accreditation with the Land Trust Alliance. She built an extraordinary staff who, with her leadership, did the hard work of adding over 1,000 acres of conserved land to our portfolio. We wish Rachelle and her family a fulfilling future as they embark on the next phase of their lives, and we look forward to hiring a new Executive Director who will continue the good work that Rachelle has done.”

Curran Apse has worked for the Land Trust since 2015 and will continue to serve in her position as Executive Director through the end of this calendar year and then support the training for the newly chosen Executive Director so that the transition will be smooth.

According to Curran Apse, the Land Trust’s three-person staff leadership team will continue with Toby Jacobs as Program Manager and Brenna Crothers as Community Engagement Manager.

The Land Trust is now actively seeking a new Executive Director who will continue to expand conservation, trails, and education through community partnerships. To see the job announcement, go to <

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