Coastal Mountains Land Trust (Camden, ME)


  • Name:Ian Stewart
  • Title:Executive Director

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Coastal Mountains Land Trust
  • Address:101 Mt. Battie Street
    Camden, ME 04843
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:207-236-7091
  • Main fax:207-236-0612

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Coastal Mountains Land Trust's mission is to "permanently conserve land to benefit the natural and human communities of western Penobscot Bay."

  • Overview:
  • We serve 15 communities in Maine's Waldo and Knox Counties.

    We accomplish our mission by:
    1. Working proactively with willing landowners to establish a system of conservation lands that feature:
    a. Natural habitat supporting biological diversity;
    b. Water resources, including rivers, lakes, wetlands, and the Bay;
    c. Farms and forests managed for sustained productivity; and
    d. Scenic landscapes essential to our sense of place.
    2. Sustaining the natural and historic values of our conservation lands through a strong stewardship program based on monitoring, management, restoration, and enforcement.
    3. Providing opportunities for the public to have access to and to explore natural places.
    4. Promoting public awareness of and support for land conservation through a broad outreach effort.
    5. Collaborating with towns, agencies, and other organizations to protect resources that meet exceptional needs in the communities we serve.
    6. Engaging volunteers to help implement our conservation work.

    In 2001, Coastal Mountains Land Trust completed its first strategic conservation plan to establish a set of conservation priorities to guide our work throughout our Western Penobscot Bay service region. Based on the results of a scientific Geographic Information System (GIS)-based conservation priorities planning process, we selected three “focus areas” in which to proactively pursue conservation projects with willing landowners.

    We selected the 3,500-acre Bald and Ragged Mountains Focus Area (please see enclosed Conservation Focus Area Map) -- the highest-scoring area within our geographic scope -- on the basis of these criteria:
    1. Ecological/Biodiversity Values: The area’s importance to the protection of a unique set of ecological attributes (outlined above).
    2. Water Resource Value: The presence in the area of numerous streams and wetlands that serve as the headwaters for three local watersheds. The Land Trust determined that these streams and their riparian corridors held high conservation value.
    3. Scenic Value: This area scored very high on the list of scenic landscape features in a local study to identify the most prominent scenic resource in our service area.
    4. Forest Resources Values: This area contained numerous parcels (including the land owned by the Maine Water Company that is the focus of this proposal) identified as possessing forest resources important to protect through long-term, sustainable forest management.

  • History:
  • Coastal Mountains Land Trust (“the Land Trust”) was founded in 1986 by a small group of citizens intent upon preserving Beech Hill in Rockport, Maine, a 572-acre property featuring critical scenic and ecological values, including rolling blueberry barrens, forests, a historic stone house, and a scenically unique summit of the Camden Hills.

    We have conserved over 10,000 acres, including 26 preserves, all open to the public for low-impact recreation and featuring 35 miles of recreational trails, as well as 39 miles of pristine shorefront. We hold 57 conservation easements. We led the Ducktrap Coalition of twenty partners, which protected 84% of its namesake river and its endangered Atlantic salmon habitat. We were one of the first land trusts in the United States to achieve national accreditation in 2008; in 2014 we were one of the first to earn accreditation renewal.


    Respectively the fifth and fourth highest mountains on the eastern United States coastline, Bald and Ragged Mountains are defining features of Midcoast Maine’s Camden Hills. Their dramatic summits, bold cliffs, and forested shoulders can be seen from across Penobscot Bay and local communities. In turn, their scenic overlooks afford spectacular 360-degree views out across the bay to the mountains of Acadia National Park, Blue Hill, and Isle au Haut. Looking westward, hikers are rewarded with views over Maine to New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

    These mountains’ peaks comprise the core of a 5,500-acre block of largely undeveloped land designated by the Maine Beginning with Habitat Program as a Focus Area of Statewide Significance because it contains rare and exemplary natural communities (Low-elevation Bald, Oak-Pine Woodland, and Rocky Summit Heath), a rare plant species (Smooth Sandwort -- Minuartia glabra), inland waterfowl and wading bird habitat, and significant deer wintering areas.

    These two highest of the unprotected mountains in the Camden Hills are a popular destination for hikers, bird watchers, mountain bikers, Nordic skiers, and others who simply enjoy being outside. They inspire works of art, one of the more famous being Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem Renascence (1917), which opens with:

    "ALL I could see from where I stood
    Was three long mountains and a wood;"

    The Ragged Mountain and Bald Mountain Focus Area of Statewide Ecological Significance profile produced by the Beginning with Habitat Program outlines the following threats to this area’s ecological values in its “Conservation Considerations” section.

    The Camden Hills, including areas close to and directly adjacent to our Bald and Ragged Mountains Focus Area, have seen increasingly strong development pressure in recent years. Five subdivisions recently have been created just south and east of the Focus Area as Camden’s settled area has expanded inland and upslope. The road building, home construction, and associated landscaping fragments wildlife habitat, threatens water quality, and creates opportunity for the spread of invasive terrestrial plant species.

    The owners of some of the forested land in the Focus Area, more concerned with short-term economic return than the long-term ecological health of the higher elevation oak forest, have done heavy salvage harvesting in their woodlots damaged by the January 1998 ice storm and other wind/ice events. Future harvesting without the practice of sustainable forest management would further diminish the ecological values of this area.

    The Bald and Ragged Mountain summits are perhaps most seriously threatened by potential additional communication tower development and uncontrolled recreational activity in the peaks’ fragile ecosystems.

    Finally, the conversion of undeveloped natural habitat on the slopes of these mountains to residential use could remove the “biodiversity safety net” of landscape connections between different elevations that otherwise would be available for native plants and animal species to incrementally shift their ranges to adjust to expected climate changes over the next century.

    Armed with this information, in 2003 the Land Trust undertook the “Campaign for Bald and Ragged Mountains,” an ambitious, phased effort to conserve this 3,500-acre focus area as a permanent natural legacy for all generations, through the acquisition of fee title and conservation easements. (Please see “Conservation in the Bald & Ragged Mountains” map for insight into how this conservation effort has succeeded.)

    To date, we have worked cooperatively with more than 30 landowners to conserve their properties on Bald and Ragged Mountains. Complemented by 290 acres of land owned by the Town of Camden and a 25-acre conservation easement held by Georges River Land Trust, we have reached 51% of our conserved acreage goal.

  • Year established:1986
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:10
  • Advisory board size:0
  • Staff size:6


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:509(a)(1)
  • Tax ID: