Over 300 people turned out for Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust’s annual membership celebration on July 17, the first all-members event since the unification of the Damariscotta River Association and the Pemaquid Watershed Association last March.
According to Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust Executive Director Steven Hufnagel, DRA and PWA staff have blended together smoothly to form a solid team and continue to work with hundreds of volunteers to coordinate the DRA and the PWA’s many programs supporting clean water, trails and public access, land conservation, and nature education.
Hufnagel highlighted the year’s conservation and education achievements, including the conservation of several natural areas that will now be forever open to the public, and the creation of new trails and places for wildlife to thrive.
Prior to the event, guests had the opportunity to tour the newly renovated farmhouse at Round Top Farm, which is the new location for Coastal Rivers’ administrative headquarters. This move to Round Top was timely given the organization’s recent expansion, and also freed up room for Coastal Rivers’ growing nature education programs at Great Salt Bay Farm on Belvedere Road. The education program currently serves over 4,000 kids and adults each year.
The renovated farmhouse was dedicated on July 11 as the Denny Conservation and Education Center in honor of the Denny family. Renovations were funded by a successful capital campaign completed in 2017. The campaign also made possible the purchase of two properties adjacent to Round Top Farm, as well as the construction of an 8-foot-wide accessible trail along the river, linking Round Top to Great Salt Bay Community School. The trail even includes a crosswalk and crossing light to enable students to cross Main Street safely.
“With the help of supporters like you,” Hufnagel told the assembled crowd, “we’re creating new pathways to enjoy the land and water, and building a love of the outdoors among the next generation.”
Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust is a nonprofit, membership-supported, and nationally accredited land trust and conservation organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the natural, cultural, and historical heritage of the greater Pemaquid peninsula and Damariscotta River region.
Coastal Rivers has active programs in the areas of land conservation, stewardship, community education, water quality monitoring, marine conservation, and cultural preservation.