The Kennebec Land Trust announced Monday an easement on 273 acres in Monmouth. The easement curtails development on the land owned by Charlie Jacobs and Rebecca Stanley, but does not include public access to the fields, woods or shoreline on Annabessacook Lake. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

MONMOUTH — A 273-acre parcel that includes forest, wetlands, open fields and 3,670 feet of shorefront on Annabessacook Lake will be protected forever from most types of development.

Landowners Charlie Jacobs and Rebecca Stanley donated a conservation easement Monday to the Kennebec Land Trust, preventing the land from being developed, other than minor residential development on a 17-acre homestead part of the property, or some agricultural structures elsewhere on the property.

No residential, commercial or industrial development will be allowed to take place on the bulk of the property, according to the conservation easement.

“We’d like to preserve the property and not have it developed, and this was the way to do it,” Jacobs said of why the couple donated the conservation easement. “Whether our kids inherit it or we sell it or whatever, it will remain undeveloped. That’s the key point.”

Unlike most Kennebec Land Trust projects, the easement will not provide public access to the privately owned land. The Winthrop-based land trust also has no plans to put hiking trails on the property.

The easement, however, preserves what land trust officials said is a spectacular scenic vista from Macomber Road of forestland and fields, unspoiled shoreline on Annabessacook and sweeping views of Mount Pisgah and the western mountains.


It includes 123 acres of woodlands, 79 acres of wetlands, 58 acres of open fields and more than 3,670 feet of undeveloped shorefront on Annabessacook.

Trust officials said the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has mapped portions of the property as containing a high-to-moderate-value waterfowl and wading bird habitat. Area farmers harvest the property’s fields for hay, which Jacobs said they hope continues.

“It’s a really great spot for wildlife, and I hope it leads to more conservation in Monmouth,” said Howard Lake, co-chairman of the land trust’s land committee. “A conservation easement enables them to ensure the property will remain mostly undeveloped for the future.

“They’ve been great stewards for the time they’ve owned it, and I’m sure they will continue to be. A lot of folks have taken good care of their properties, taken a lot of pride and want to see them maintained in that way, and not developed.”

Kim Vandermeulen, president of the land trust’s board of directors, said Maine is experiencing increasing development pressure, including forest and farmland being converted to other uses. He said undeveloped land sequesters and stores carbon, so conservation projects like this one, dubbed the Jacobs-Stanley Easement, protect woods and wetlands and help counter climate change.

Lake said the prevention of development on the shorefront could help the water quality of Annabessacook.


A view of the Monmouth land placed in easement by the Kennebec Land Trust. The easement on 273 acres curtails development on the land owned by Charlie Jacobs and Rebecca Stanley, but does not include public access to the fields, woods or shoreline on Annabessacook Lake. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Jacobs and Stanley bought the property in 2008 from Fred Woolworth, and the property used to be part of the sprawling Woolworth estate. They said they love the land, and it was also important to them to help protect the water quality of the lake by preventing development of waterfront property.

Land trust officials note on the nonprofit organization’s website the potential tax benefits associated with conservation easements include income, estate and property tax relief.

The Kennebec Land Trust now holds easements on 2,360 acres in the Kennebec River and lakes region, and owns more than 4,600 acres.

On those 4,600 acres, the land trust offers 54 miles of trails open to the public for outdoor recreation, including hiking, hunting, fishing, paddling, skiing and viewing nature.

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