A Local Sliding Hill Protected
In 2015, in East Machias, a “for sale” sign went up on a piece of land that had long been used as the local sliding hill.
To make sure kids could keep on using the hill, Maine Coast Heritage Trust purchased and protected a part of the property, made improvements (including putting in a park parking lot!), and eventually turned it over to the town to manage as a small local park.
Soon after purchasing the land, MCHT spoke with then 9th grader Violet Vigil. “I’d be really disappointed if they put a house there,” said Violet, who had been screaming down the hill for ten years. “There’s not so many things to do here in winter, and I have so many great memories of fun times. It’s cold! But that’s just part of the adventure.”
MCHT’s field staff live and work in communities up and down the Maine coast, and pay attention to the places people care about—places that might not be protected, where access could be taken away.
“Boothbay Harbor lost its sledding hill,” says Downeast Project Manager Jacob van de Sande, “so we were concerned.” But in East Machias, MCHT was able to ensure this kind of place was conserved.
“Sometimes the schools bus the kids in to sled,” says van de Sande, “and winter weekends it’s crawling. This is exactly the kind of small project where the community benefit is so clear, it’s a natural.”
To some it may be just a two-acre hill, but to MCHT and the town of East Machias, it is a place to make magic in the snow—every winter, from here on out.
More Stories from the Coast
Over the past six years, Maine Coast Heritage Trust has worked with partners to complete 36 marsh protection projects from York to Washington counties, conserving a total of about 1,800 acres of marsh and upland buffers.
MCHT collaborates with The Community School to protect important habitat and create permanent outdoor education space on Mount Desert Island.
Protecting connected habitats is key to making the coast more resilient to climate change, and healthy, free-flowing rivers are among the most important types of connected habitats.
MCHT helped conserve a few downtown acres in Milbridge in 2017. Four years later, this land has been transformed into the Milbridge Commons Wellness Park—a place where people can walk by the water, play, and pick free produce.
With the conservation of Sheep Island, MCHT offers a trio of great island preserves in Owls Head.