In December of 2003, the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust finalized its purchase of Robinson Woods – an undertaking that would not have been possible without the generous support of our friends and members—Thank You!
In the Spring of 2000, CELT embarked upon a bold campaign to raise over $800,000 to purchase Robinson Woods. John Robinson had offered the property to us at nearly half its appraised value--we knew we had to seize the opportunity to permanently protect this unique property. For an organization with one part-time staff and an operating budget of only $30,000 we knew we would need help. Our first breakthrough came from a $250,000 grant from the Land For Maine’s Future Program. Our second funding partner was the Town of Cape Elizabeth who matched the LMF grant putting us well on our way towards ownership. With smaller grants from the Casco Bay Estuary Project, the Lennox Foundation and Davis Foundation, we were able to piece together the remainder of the funding locally.
What we discovered during these three years was an incredible local understanding and appreciation for preserving open space here in Cape Elizabeth. To the many of you who contributed individually toward this campaign, you will be glad to hear that not only do we now own the property outright, but we have also been busy building bridges and maintaining trails. Since that time we have installed a kiosk at the Shore Road entrance that includes useful information about Robinson Woods’ woodland mammalian, amphibian and avian residents.
In March of 2005, the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust completed a three-year campaign to preserve 47 acres of farmland adjacent to the Spurwink Marsh known as the William H. Jordan Farm. With the assistance of the Land for Maine’s Future Program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program, CELT has been able to leverage over $1,000,000 in grants toward this project.
Through a variety of loans and local donations, CELT contributed over $170,000 toward this project. As with Robinson Woods, this opportunity was too great to risk losing. Under the terms of our agreement, the stunning views of Spurwink Church across the Spurwink Marsh will be forever protected along with provisions to maintain the land for agricultural use. But perhaps the best part of this project for Cape Elizabeth is that the Jordan family will continue to own and work the fields as they have for generations. To many of us here at the Land Trust, this project perfectly illustrates the importance of Cape Elizabeth maintaining its rural heritage and protecting open space for public access or for agricultural use.