An intern ranger at Lake George Regional Park East in Canaan mows the lawn near the beach in May 2018. Somerset Woods Trustees earlier this month gave the park a 1.4-acre, lakefront parcel. Morning Sentinel file photo

CANAAN — Trail expansion at Lake George Regional Park took a step forward this month thanks to a land donation from Somerset Woods Trustees.

A nonprofit trust formed in 1927, Somerset Woods Trustees transferred ownership of a 1.4-acre, lakefront lot adjoining the park’s east side.

The nonprofit owns nearly 1,800 acres across nine towns, including Canaan, Madison, Skowhegan, Solon and Starks.

“Somerset Woods Trustees is pleased to have partnered for many years with Lake George Regional Park to help protect the park and lake,” said Jack Gibson, president of the organization. “We acquired a lot on the lake 18 years ago to prevent it from being developed.”

Gibson said while the lot is critical to the park for management and trails, it is not critical to his organization’s mission to protect land in Somerset County that has significant natural or cultural resources or to manage land in sustainable ways.

“Thus, we are happy to give the land to Lake George Corp. for its continued use and enjoyment,” Gibson said. “Personally, as a founding member of Lake George Corp. and former Lake George Regional Park president for nine years, I am very happy that this has been accomplished. It is in good hands.”

Darryll White, chief administrator at the park, said the land will continue to support the enhancement of recreational opportunities.

The park is a day-use, lakeside destination that was established in 1992. It is owned by the state, leased through interlocal agreements between the towns of Skowhegan and Canaan and is managed for public use by Lake George Corp.

The park is off U.S. Route 2 and annually attracts about 26,000 visitors to the lake and surrounding 320 acres.

“Lake George Regional Park is very appreciative of the Somerset Woods Trustees’ generous gift of this property,” White said. “(The park) is also interested in maintaining the undeveloped lands in and around the park. Thus, we have strong interest in further land acquisition for the purpose of preservation. The park is actively pursuing land gifts and the funding to acquire additional property surrounding the park.”

White said Lake George Regional Park officials are looking to redesign and expand trails, while also working with Somerset Woods Trustees and other organizations to improve and expand regional trails.

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