To protect the property’s natural state and to make it available for public enjoyment, Pemaquid Watershed Association (PWA) recently accepted a gift of land from Dr. William Scott Long. The 44.5 acres of undeveloped forestland on the west side of Benner Road in Bristol includes about 1,300 feet of frontage on the Pemaquid River near its origin in Biscay Pond and about 2,000 feet of Campbell’s Swamp Brook. The preserved land is contiguous with a 130-acre property held in conservation easement by PWA.
In 1971 when Long and his then-wife, Cosima, were living in New Haven, CT, they decided to look for some place nearby for weekends away from Yale. That search ended in Bristol, ME, a good 6 hours from New Haven, but the property made every trip afterwards worth the drive. Through further land purchases and some resales, Long gradually added to his Benner Road property over the years. When it became clear that he would not retire to Maine, he decided to donate the land for its protection and for the enjoyment of others in Lincoln County and elsewhere. Long said, “This property and the region overall have had a strong hold on me. When we arrived, you could drive for 5 miles in one direction and two in the other before encountering an inhabited house. More than that, you could sleep in the side yard and wake up to see the Milky Way shifting over your head without any interference from man-made light. So, among reasons to donate the land are its preservation in my memory and imagination, its stewardship through the PWA and its increased access to others.”
The preserve is named for Long’s ex-wife who shares with him the desire to open the land to others, and the ongoing memory of time lived there. Cosima’s Preserve offers unique opportunities to protect the Pemaquid River shoreline as well as a portion of the watershed. PWA will seek to balance the protection strategies along with the opportunity for public use of the preserve by developing a management plan that will give PWA guidance on the best ways to accomplish these goals.
As a Land Trust, PWA is able to accept land donations and conservation easements and provide the long-term stewardship needed to ensure perpetuation of the myriad public benefits of open space.
Photo by Michael A. Kane