Acquiring Access
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Case Studies: Acquiring Access

Scarborough Beach

For many years, access to Scarborough Beach was tenuous. Parking, for which the private landowner charged a fee, was inadequate, and the beach entrance depended on a public right-of-way over private land. In 1999, the parking area and access land came up for sale and were purchased by the state as part of a land deal to acquire 62 acres between the shore and Route 207, including the entirety of Massacre Pond. Support for the purchase came through the Land for Maine’s Future Program and the Trust for Public Land (which purchased the site for subsequent transfer to the state). The property is now owned and managed by the Bureau of Parks and Lands.

The Sewall Bridge Dock

The Sewall Bridge Dock is an example of private parties joining with a land trust to purchase a piece of property on the market in order to maintain access, in this case for commercial fishermen. Under the terms of the agreement, fishermen Mark Sewall and Jeff Donnell put up $300,000 to help meet the $710,000 sale price of the rebuilt, 2,290-square-foot dock and about a sixth of an acre of land. The York Land Trust raised the remaining $410,000 with which they purchased a conservation easement from Sewall and Donnel that protected the land from development. The conservation easement required that the property be used only as working waterfront, provided for public access to a portion of the property, and protected its scenic beauty. The parties heavily negotiated the terms of the easement to meet the needs of both the fishermen and the conservation community.