Maine Coast Heritage Trust Announces Progress on Multiyear Effort to Purchase, Protect, and Restore Stone Barn Farm
Release date: June 15, 2022
The nonprofit is near completion of an expanded 35-space parking lot, unveiling new programming, and has hired its first Community Outreach Coordinator.
(June 15, 2022, Bar Harbor, Maine) Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) announced today that it has started construction on a new parking lot, begun renovations on the historic barn and hired local community leader, Renee Duncan, as part of a multiyear effort to purchase, protect, and restore Stone Barn Farm and make it open to the public. This iconic property in Bar Harbor features nearly two miles of trails and expansive fields and woodlands and has been well-used by locals for decades. The $2.5 million campaign began in 2019 when MCHT purchased the property and sought community support to transform the Stone Barn Farm property into a public preserve.
Significant Renovations at the Preserve
An expanded parking lot, largely unseen from the road, will accommodate up to 35 cars, allowing more people to enjoy the 128-acre preserve. Construction of the new parking area is expected to be completed by early July. The next phase of the project is the renovation of the 19th century barn which is currently underway and expected to be completed in 2023. These renovations will maintain the barn’s status on the National Register of Historic Places while making it safer for visitors.
MCHT purchased Stone Barn Farm in 2019 thanks in large part to over 200 individual donors from the Mount Desert Island (MDI) community who rallied behind the effort to turn the beloved property into a public preserve. Prior to MCHT purchasing the property, Stone Barn Farm was owned by Harry and Cindy Owen. “The Owen’s had always treated this place as if it were a preserve. They kept the trails open for everyone,” said MCHT Regional Stewardship Manager Douglas McMullin. “They wanted to ensure that Stone Barn Farm was kept open forever.”
New Hire at Stone Barn Farm
This week, MCHT announced the hire of a Community Outreach Coordinator at Stone Barn Farm Preserve, Renee Duncan. Duncan, who spent the past eleven years working for College of the Atlantic as the Director of Summer Field Studies, will be responsible for looking after Stone Barn Farm Preserve as well as coordinating community outreach on the property and the MDI region. This is a newly created role at MCHT.
“I’m trying to kindle and nourish that little spark we feel when exploring a place like the Stone Barn Farm,” said Duncan. “I hope to illuminate the values and work of those who have cared for this land across generations.”
Thanks to its location, beautiful and varied natural features, extensive trail system, and historic infrastructure, Stone Barn Farm Preserve holds unique potential as a resource for educational programming, walking, birding, and community events. Since MCHT purchased the property, it has continued to be well-used by the local community including school groups, birders, the MDI Historical Society, scouts, artists, and many more. MCHT is currently drafting a management plan for the preserve and is expecting to get programming off to a start this summer.
With Duncan leading community outreach and the construction of a larger parking lot, MCHT plans to collaborate with schools, organizations, and others in the area to help address local needs and continue to connect people with this special place.
ABOUT MAINE COAST HERITAGE TRUST
MCHT is a dynamic, multifaceted organization with initiatives ranging from preserving coastal access for communities to high impact ecological work focused on reconnecting waterways and improving coastal resiliency to climate change. A leader in Maine’s nationally renowned land conservation efforts since 1970, MCHT maintains a growing network of almost 150 coastal and island preserves free and open to everyone and leads the 80-member Maine Land Trust Network to ensure that land conservation provides benefits to all Maine communities. Get involved at www.mcht.org.