Salmon Falls Tidal Water Project

Photo by Brett Cropp

Summary of the Salmon Falls Tidal Waters Project:
  • Located on Oldfields Road – just up from Vaughan Woods State Park.
  • Will permanently conserve 62 acres of uplands, a quarter mile of shore frontage, 7 acres of saltmarsh and 9 acres of mud flats.
  • Will enhance water quality, provide habitat for wildlife including animals, birds and fish.
  • Will be available for public recreation such as walking, wildlife watching, and school education programs.
  • Will cost an estimated $2.2 million to complete – this includes buying the land and creating parking and trails.
  • Depending on the final sources of grant funding the land could be owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (managers of Vaughan Woods), Great Works Regional Land Trust, or the Town of South Berwick.
South Berwick, ME voted 78% in favor of supporting our efforts to protect this property – a resounding success! Thanks to all who voted. This level of support for the project is significant as we move forward with additional fundraising efforts.  With the town’s contribution we are now over a third of the way!
More about the Project:
Shortly after launching a kayak or canoe from the South Berwick town boat launch and paddling under the 101 bridge, you will arrive at a pristine shoreline vista that transports you back in time 200 years when flat bottomed gundalows frequented the Piscataqua region. This section of the river has been blessed over the years to have property owners who recognize the true value of the land. The combined New Hampshire and Maine sides of this section of the Salmon Falls River have more than 300 acres of land in conservation to protect the sensitive shoreline from development.

In close proximity to Vaughan Woods and Hamilton House, three adjoining parcels making up 62 acres on Oldfields Road have become available for Great Works Regional Land Trust to purchase for the purpose of extending the stretch of undisturbed vista and keeping the land undeveloped and available for public recreation and enjoyment. GWRLT has a nearly 40 year history of land conservation in the Berwicks, Eliot, Ogunquit and Wells.

Former GWRLT board member, Jean Demetracopoulos explains “This project is a once in a lifetime opportunity to keep this section of the river in the same form it was hundreds of years ago. Traditionally, the public access to this parcel has only been looking up over the saltmarsh while traveling along the river by boat. This property has historically been used for timber harvesting, but with this purchase we could provide the public access to outdoor recreation and preserve wildlife habitat.” Demetracopoulos is a former South Berwick town councilor and former chair of the conservation commission and she lives a short distance from the Oldfields parcels. She concludes “We cannot expect to conserve the land in the entire river corridor, but when the opportunity arises we want to do whatever it takes to honor the landowners wishes for their land. But also, I believe this project is an investment that will return more than we are being asked to put in and it is in line with our shared town values”

Southern York County has seen rapid population growth, which is poised to continue. As forested land is converted to housing, roads, and parking lots, the potential for polluted runoff to contaminate aquifers, streams, and lakes greatly increases. Current GWRLT Board Chair, Leigh Peake says “We are committed to securing the funding required to purchase these parcels, protecting the river frontage, and ensuring that this land will be preserved for everyone, forever.”

Your local land trust in the Berwicks, Eliot, Ogunquit & Wells