Saturday, May 18, 2024


USA: Maine Residents Fight to Bring Private Island into Public Hands

Residents of Falmouth (Maine, USA) are working together in an exciting initiative to bring a private island in to public hands – but will they manage to raise the required USD 1.6 million in time?

Clapboard Island - Courtesy of Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Clapboard Island – Courtesy of Maine Coast Heritage Trust

The residents of a small town on southern coast of Maine have pledged to donate USD 200,000 in order to secure the long-term future of Clapboard Island, a 15 acre private island located at the heart of top sailing revier Casco Bay.

Situated approximately a mile away from the Falmouth Town Landing, the island has been subject to an ongoing fundraising effort ever since its owners announced their intentions to sell the north-eastern half of island back in 2011.

Last available to purchase in 1898, the 17-acre lot immediately attracted the attention of two of the region’s most prominent island conservation groups: the Friends of Clapboard Island and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

Inspired by the groups’ tireless action to transform the island lot into publicly accessible land,  Falmouth’s Land and Acquisitions Committee last week agreed to donate the incredible six-figure sum to the fundraising drive.

“(The town’s donation) is a lot of money, and it’s going to help leverage other dollars,” said Keith Fletcher, Project Manager for Island Acquisition at the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. “We have already had funders who told us they were waiting for the town to act first.”

Whist the generous donation has certainly boosted the group’s coffers, there’s still a long way to go before the USD 1.6 million dollar target is met, however. So far, the trust has raised an estimated USD 500,000, leaving a million dollar deficit to make up before the island closes on August 15th.

According to Susan Gilpin of the Friends of Clapboard Island group, the island is worth every last cent. Unlike neighboring communities, Gilpin explains, Falmouth boasts relatively few islands, making the purchase of Clapboard Island even more important for future generations.

Falmouth Town Council Vice Chairwoman Karen Farber echoed this sentiment, describing the island as “the kind of place that mom and dad can go with kids.”

Stay tuned to Private Island News for further developments regarding Clapboard Island or head over to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust to donate to this worthy cause.


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