The Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust is pleased to announce that is has acquired a conservation easement on approximately 17 acres of land adjacent to the A.T. just north of the Kennebec River crossing in The Forks Plantation. The property was owned by the late Stephen Longley, the long-time, celebrated operator of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Kennebec River Ferry Service. Mr. Longley shuttled some 19,000 hikers across the river over a twenty-year period and earned the trail name “The Ferryman”. He also operated a small store that catered to thru-hikers on the east side of the river.
Mr. Longley graciously bequeathed his property by the Kennebec to the Maine Appalachian Trail Club in his will and MATC, wanting to permanently protect the area in order to provide a buffer for incompatible development and to conserve the significant values of the Appalachian Trail in Maine, has donated a conservation easement to Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust. The easement covers the portions of the property closest to the Appalachian Trail, leaving the commercial footprint area free for continued operations as a store or other business catering to hikers. The portion of the easement closest to the A.T. contains “forever wild” restrictions, meaning that the area is open to low-impact recreational use (hiking, nature observation, hunting, fishing) but motorized vehicles and timber harvesting are prohibited. Between the “forever wild” area and the commercial footprint, a camping area may be developed.
MATC is a founding partner of the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust and they do fantastic work – as an all volunteer organization – to maintain the A.T. in Maine. We grateful to Mr. Longley and MATC for protecting the trail through the donation of this conservation easement.