Kennebec Land Trust Executive Director Theresa Kerchner, left, and board member Howard Lake look for birds on Little Cobbossee Lake during a tour Thursday of the Kennebec Land Trust’s recently acquired Weston Woods Preserve in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

EAST WINTHROP — Weston Woods, a 55-acre property on Little Cobbossee Lake, will be available for public use after being recently acquired by the Kennebec Land Trust.

The land was offered to the trust by Bob and Jim Weston, who dedicated the land to the memory of their parents, Hope and Pete Weston. Howard Lake, the co-chairperson of the Kennebec Land Trust’s Lands Committee, said the land was offered at a “considerable bargain” to the trust.

Bob Weston, 80, of Winthrop said his parents purchased the land more than 50 years ago. They recently passed away and left it to him and his brother Jim.

“My brother and I are glad to be able to leave the Weston Woods Preserve to the Kennebec Land Trust so the public can enjoy it as we the family have for many years,” Bob Weston said. “Our mum and dad would be pleased that Jim and I made this decision.”

Bob Weston, a former member of the land trust’s board of directors, stepped away from the board due to this transaction, but plans to rejoin in the near future.

Lake said it was important for the trust to secure this property to keep some of the shoreline on Little Cobbossee undeveloped, as well as keeping a large piece of land available for wildlife habitat and recreation.

Kennebec Land Trust Executive Director Theresa Kerchner, left, and board member Howard Lake walk along a snowmobile trail during a tour Thursday of the Kennebec Land Trust’s recently acquired Weston Woods Preserve in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The Weston Woods, located east of Case Road from its intersection with U.S. Route 202, contains wetlands, 1,315 feet of undeveloped shoreline, 1,500 feet of perennial stream, and land designated as inland waterfowl and wading bird habitat. Two rare plants have also been identified at the site, Columbian water-meal and pointed water-meal.

According to a news release, the acquisition was also aided by a grant from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program, and by land trust and community members.

The Weston Woods Preserve is adjacent to the trust’s 90-acre Little Cobbossee Oatway Preserve, and the two will be linked by a trail that will be created in 2021. A dedication for the property and trail is planned for August 2021.

A snowmobile trail that goes through the northern portion of Weston Woods will remain open and be maintained by the Winthrop Hillandalers Club. The preserve will also allow hunting.

Bob Weston called the land “a special place to the Westons.”

Kim Vandermeulen, president of the land trust’s board of directors, said the group was thankful for the Weston’s “generosity and farsighted conservation vision.”

“We look forward to adding protection for the Cobbossee watershed and welcoming the community to another publicly accessible conservation property in Kennebec County,” Vandermeulen said in a statement.

The acquisition means that the trust has conserved a total of 6,900 acres in the region around the Kennebec River since it formed more than 30 years ago. Lake said new areas of land are always being looked at by the trust, and the group will likely eclipse the 7,000-acre mark soon.

A view of Little Cobbossee Lake taken during a tour Thursday of the Kennebec Land Trust’s recently acquired Weston Woods Preserve in Winthrop. The yellow marker gives directions for a snowmobile trail that goes over the still yet to be frozen waters. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

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