They Took to the Coast

Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserves offer refuge in turbulent times

Nature walks Lubec, Maine
Courtesy of Maine Coast Heritage Trust

When stay-at-home orders were issued in March, Samantha Francis-Taylor yearned for a break from the relentless stress. Teaching high school English while tag-teaming with her husband to care for their 3-year-old son, felt overwhelming, especially since she was in the second trimester of pregnancy. The threat of COVID 19 made routine errands where she might come in proximity to other people feel risky, and the family’s favorite stomping grounds, like state parks, were shut down.

“Everything just came to an abrupt halt,” says Francis-Taylor, of Brunswick.

The family found refuge in the preserves managed by local land trusts. Places like Woodward Point Preserve, an expanse of more than 80 acres with yawning pastures and meandering forested trails at the water’s edge, felt like getaways, even though they were just a few minutes from home in downtown Brunswick.

“It’s pretty spectacular to have meadows, woods, and ocean views all in one place,” Francis-Taylor says. The property, which Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust conserved last year, is one of the few remaining pieces of undeveloped waterfront of its size in southern Maine.

“The time outside has felt like such a refuge,” Francis-Taylor says. “It has reminded me that even after living here for 33 years, there’s always so much new to discover. And you don’t have to drive far to be in a completely new space.”

With so much disquiet still looming, Francis-Taylor takes comfort in knowing that groups such as Maine Coast Heritage Trust and local land trusts are keeping Maine’s natural treasures free and open to the public forever.

“The world, in so many ways, feels like such a scary and precarious place right now,” she says. “I’m super grateful that groups are working to conserve this property and give the public access to it, and that we can find a place that we can feel at ease amidst so much uncertainty.”

Learn more about MCHT’s 143 preserves from Kittery to Fort Kent.

Black Island
Nature Walks, Lubec
Nature Walks, Lubec
Maine Coast Heritage
Boot Head