PIERCE POND FOREVER
Our Challenge: activities in the watershed could potentially degrade the pristine water quality of the ten ponds within the watershed, disrupt aquatic ecosystems, and damage wildlife habitat around the Pond.
Our Opportunity: For the first time in MWWT's history, there is an opportunity to acquire a large and sensitive area that would protect these ponds and ecosystems.
Now is the time to complete the task of preserving Pierce Pond forever.
In 1989, sensitive to the winds of change, a group of people who loved Pierce Pond formed the Maine Wilderness Watershed Trust (MWWT), in order to preserve their cherished watershed. MWWT then became instrumental in acquiring the initial easement preventing development along Pierce Pond’s eastern shore and islands, which was a giant step toward the desired protection. Over the subsequent years, the Trust has steadily improved the protection scenario with additional easements and acquisitions, including our acquisition of five additional conservation easements, and partnership on two more, safeguarding more than 7,200 acres; our purchase of nearly 2,000 acres of shoreland and forest; and our agreements with Cobb’s Camps and Harrison’s Camps to ensure that these traditional Maine sporting camps remain open to the public.
MWWT’s original mission was simple and clear: To protect the unspoiled beauty and natural resources of the watershed and ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy this special place. Throughout the years there have been continuing indications of change, and recent land-ownership changes have contributed to the uncertainty of the Pierce Pond watershed’s future. This concern evolved into the gradual realization that the only way to keep the watershed permanently protected is to own it. In 2015, the MWWT Board of Directors adopted ownership of the entire Pierce Pond watershed as the primary goal of future activities.
In the wake of that decision, the Trust has been taking steps to ensure that we are fully prepared to negotiate the acquisition of additional watershed lands as opportunities present themselves. We have retained local and regional forestry and real estate expertise to help us develop an acquisition plan that will facilitate Trust ownership of important shoreline, scenic areas, and wildlife habitat, as parcels become available. We also contracted with Demont & Associates — a highly regarded firm in Portland specializing in philanthropic counsel to not-for-profit organizations — to conduct a planning study. The study assessed the viability of our goal of owning and stewarding the watershed, to ensure that the goals being pursued are consistent with the desires of the entire membership, and that the logistical and financial support will be available.
After receiving the Demont team’s final Planning Study Report at a special December 12, 2017 meeting, MWWT’s Board voted to initiate the PIERCE POND FOREVER Campaign. The goal of Pierce Pond Forever is to raise sufficient funding for the acquisition of watershed lands as well as their long-term care and stewardship. This will be a formidable task. It will require a lot of work by members of the Board and the general membership to be successful.
No doubt, it is an ambitious goal for a small land trust. But 29 years ago, when a small group of Pierce Pond devotees sat down to figure out how to save the watershed from an unprecedented development boom, the odds were equally long. The Pierce Pond Forever campaign will require the talents and resources of all of us, but history has shown that the support and involvement of our devoted membership can achieve conservation miracles!