Island Heritage Trust, (IHT) the land trust for the island of Deer Isle, announced in mid-August that it had signed purchase and sale contracts securing two critical parcels that will provide a boat launch on Eggemoggin Reach, a swimming beach, walking trails, and a picnic area. These facilities will be open to the public.

The 26-acre “Gateway” site, which is on the Reach side of Rt. 15 as one crosses onto Deer Isle from the Causeway, includes wooded areas and fields sloping down to the water with spectacular views of Eggemoggin Reach. When combined with other conserved areas such as the Causeway Beach, the Gateway area becomes a valued public resource, welcoming islanders and visitors alike to Deer Isle. “This is the `front door’, the Gateway, that greets all who come onto the island by land, and it is a prominent feature as one approaches by water from the northwest,” noted IHT President Jean Wheeler. “The opportunity to reconstruct part of a historic property that has been in the Scott family since 1782 with the benefit of public access to scenic and open space, two beaches, a boat launch, and the connection between the Reach and the Causeway Beach, is incomparable! We are truly thrilled that the sellers, descendents of Nathaniel Scott, have offered us this chance to preserve this land for the islanders in perpetuity,” continued Wheeler.

IHT had until the end of August to purchase one of the properties. If a fundraising effort is unsuccessful, the properties were to go back on the open market.

IHT teamed with Maine Coast Heritage Trust, (MCHT) a statewide land conservation organization. IHT and MCHT are seeking support from private individuals as well as public sources such as the bond-funded Land for Maine’s Future program’s Water Access funds.

The land had been on the market and attracted considerable interest from developers from southern Maine and elsewhere for high-end subdivision. Water access and views of Eggemoggin Reach would have fetched high prices for what could have been 5 to 15 lots and it would have eliminated any chance of public access.

Anyone interested in making a donation to the Campaign for the Gateway should contact IHT at 348-2455 or stop by its Main Street office in Deer Isle between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Donations for the Campaign for the Gateway through MCHT can be made by calling 729-7366 x 122.