Gov. Paul LePage is quite mistaken in his assertion that there is some political motivation behind the Kennebec Land Trust’s efforts to acquire Howard Hill with assistance from the Land for Maine’s Future program, and donate it to the city of Augusta. In fact, this tract of land has been on the state’s acquisition radar for at least 50 years.

In the 1960s, Herb Hartman, of the state’s Department of Parks and Recreation, negotiated with Brooks Brown, who then owned the land. The deal failed because the parties were unable to agree on a price, and probably because there was no funding mechanism in place, such as the Land For Maine’s Future program. Hartman would have had to go to the Legislature for an appropriation to pay for it, a chancy and slow process.

When my family came to Augusta in 1935 to live on Fuller Road, we occasionally crossed Western Avenue and hiked or skied through what we then called “Gannett’s Woods.” The owners welcomed public use.

As a member of the Kennebec Land Trust’s Advisory Board, I’ve been pleased to support the effort to acquire this spectacular parcel for current and future generations of Mainers to enjoy.

Jon Lund


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