WINTHROP — Judy Schuppien and Phil Brzozowski, Pittston residents, donated the 22-acre Eastern River Preserve to the Kennebec Land Trust on Dec. 4.
The donation is the first in the town of Pittston for the Winthrop-based nonprofit, and features more than 3,000 feet of frontage on the Eastern River. The Eastern River is a 14 mile-long tributary of the Kennebec River that begins in East Pittston at the confluence of its west and east branches, and flows southwest past the historic village of Dresden Mills into the Kennebec River.
Located off Blodgett Road in Pittston, the preserve will be managed to protect wildlife habitat and water quality, for low impact outdoor recreation and for nature observation. A short meandering path will provide public access to the river and will feature the property’s mixed hardwood and conifer forest, 1,000 feet of frontage on tidal Otter Creek, and scenic views of the Eastern River and an extensive oxbow.
The permanently protected conservation property protects important wildlife habitat for wood ducks, common mergansers and mallards, and wading birds including great blue herons and American bittern, as well as bald eagles, osprey, kingfisher and the species they eat, such as alewife. In addition, the river banks serve as travel corridors for white-tailed deer, bobcat, coyotes and black bear. Many areas along the riverbank support large trees, providing nesting sites for pileated woodpeckers and barred owls.
At the time of the donation, Schuppien and Brzozowski said, “For many years, we’ve loved visiting preserves all over Maine. We think the Eastern River Preserve is a special place, and we want to share it, as others have shared with us.”
Kim Vandermeulen, president of the KLT Board of Directors said, “we are so grateful to Judy and Phil for their generous donation of the ecologically diverse and scenic Eastern River Preserve. This new KLT property will be open to the public for year-round outdoor recreation including hiking, nature observation, fishing, and hunting.”
A property dedication will be held on April 27.
The land trust has worked with landowners and communities to conserve the forests, shorelands, fields and wildlife that define central Maine. The trust’s conserved lands encompass more than 6,245 acres in the Kennebec River and lakes region. Most of KLT’s properties are open to the public for hiking, outdoor recreation, nature observation and hunting. For more information call 207-377-2848 or visit www.tklt.org
PHOTO: Eastern River Preserve (Andrew Tufts photo)