Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens announced Wednesday it has received a generous gift of land from an anonymous donor. The 24.81 acre parcel is adjacent to the organization’s Boothbay, Maine property and contains over one-quarter mile of lakefront on Knickerbocker and Little Knickerbocker lakes, which form part of the Boothbay Region’s water supply reservoir system. The parcel abuts the Boothbay Region YMCA’s Camp Knickerbocker and after the camp itself, the donated property is the largest parcel of undeveloped waterfront on the lakes, giving it exceptionally high conservation value.
CMBG expresses its sincere gratitude to the conservation-minded donor and plans to place the land into permanent preservation.
William Cullina, president and CEO of the non-profit, says that the lakefront is an invaluable addition to its education and research mission. “We are fortunate to have a great diversity of wetlands on our 295 acre property – tidal saltwater and salt marsh, streams, bogs, ponds, vernal pools, swamps and now this lakefront and associated emergent wetlands. It will provide a wonderful outdoor classroom for our wetlands ecology curriculum.” Another 22 acre parcel of significant wetland habitat was donated to the organization in 2014, bringing its total conserved lands to over 200 acres.
The gift will also benefit the Boothbay Region YMCA. “We are very happy that this donation will help buffer Camp Knickerbocker and maintain the privacy of the campers,” Cullina added. CMBG is working with the YMCA to maintain an existing trail network through the mature woodlands that campers can use to access the rest of the camp property.
Most importantly, preservation of the land will help protect the region’s drinking water supply. If not conserved the parcel could have been divided into as many as six waterfront building lots connected by a private drive.
“With its sloping topography and extensive waterfront, development of this parcel could have been highly and negatively impactful to the water quality in the lakes,” Cullina said.
CMBG is currently implementing the first phase of a 20-year master plan, including expanded infrastructure, a new visitor center, glass conservatory, additional gardens, nature trails and research and education facilities. For more information, call 207-633-8000, or visit www.MaineGardens.org.