Our biggest accomplishment in the land trust community is the creation of the Kennebec Highlands. It is the largest conserved, undeveloped, contiguous habitat block in central Maine: 6,800 acres
o 5,800 owned/eased by State of Maine
o 1,000 acres owned by BRCA
Much of the land now owned by the state was first owned by BRCA and transferred to the state under a project agreement that provided significant state funding through the Land for Maine’s Future Program. The Highlands is a great example of partnership between BRCA and the State of Maine. Because of the size of the project, it has become a Focus Area under state wildlife and habitat criteria.
Since 1988, BRCA has conserved 9,000 acres, including the Highlands. We have several easements underway at this time, so are planning to expand our conservation footprint. Long-term, we hope to double land conservation in the watershed to 20,000 acres.
November 1, 1988 – Founded/incorporated as the Watson Pond Conservation Trust
January 31, 1990 – Became a 501 (c) (3) organization as determined by the IRS. Acquired first property: French Mountain and 34 acres on the west shore of Watson Pond in Rome
November 22, 1991 – Changed name to Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance and revised articles of incorporation to reflect broadened focus
1995 – Founded Belgrade Lakes Conservation Corps
1998 – Acquired The Mountain in Rome in collaboration with Belgrade Lakes Association. Initiated 6,000 acre Kennebec Highlands project in central Maine
1999 – Acquired first conservation easements: Pentlarge property with old growth forest in Rome. Acquired first property in Oakland of almost 50 acres on Salmon Lake. Started Watershed Program with proceeds from Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s NPS Grants Program. Began remediation programs to improve water quality on Salmon Lake and McGrath Pond in conjunction with the Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District
2000 – Completed watershed reports on East Pond and North Pond and published Great Pond watershed survey
2001 – Formed BRCA Milfoil Committee to combat invasive species.
2002 – In collaboration with area lake associations, began summer boat inspections at local boat launches to combat the spread of milfoil and other invasive species. Created and filled year-round executive director position.
2003 – In collaboration with the Maine Historic Preservation Commision, began an archaeology survey of the Kennebec Highlands.
2004 – Acquired two properties that completed this phase of the Kennebec Highlands, conserving 5,600 acres of watershed land in Rome, Vienna, Mt Vernon, and New Sharon. Planned for additional acquisitions and future expansion of the Highlands. In collaboration with Pine Island Camp, acquired 207 acres on Mt. Phillip in Rome, including the hiking trail and summit.
2005 – Acquired two properties near the Kennebec Highlands; 17.5 acres southeast of the highlands in Vienna and 24 acres at the north end off Route 27 in Rome. Created a parking lot for Mt. Phillip in Rome for public access to the hiking trail and summit.
2006 – A gift acquisition of 39 acres in New Sharon from Everette Pope, a Medal of Honor recipient. Formed BRCA Lake Trust to coordinate water quality efforts in the Belgrade Lakes Watershed.
2007 – Acquired a second piece of property in Oakland on Messalonskee Lake in Kennebec County.
2008 – Acquired an additional 73 acres adjacent to the Kennebec Highlands, part of the Flying Pond Watershed in Vienna of Kennebec County.
2009 – Acquired 23 acres in the wetlands of Belgrade in the Messalonskee Lake Watershed.
2010 – Acquired first conservation easement of almost 200 acres in New Sharon, Franklin County.
2011 – Acquired second conservation easement of 265 acres in New Sharon, Franklin County. Added over 40 acres to The Mountain in Rome in collaboration with Belgrade Lakes Association. Acquired almost 470 acres in Mount Vernon on the lower basin of Long Pond in Kennebec County.
2012 – Acquired first property in Smithfield of 300 acres on Great Pond in Somerset County. Acquired our first conservation easement on a farm, preserving almost 40 acres of the Winterberry Farm on Messalonskee Lake in Belgrade, Kennebec County.
2013 – Acquired conservation easement in Oakland, preserving 58 acres on Salmon Lake in Kennebec County. Also acquired 39 acres on Messalonskee Lake in Oakland, Kennebec County.
2014 – Acquired a conservation easement of 107 acres in Belgrade, Kennebec County. Also acquired property in New Sharon of 278 acres off Kimball Pond Road, Franklin County.
2015 – Acquired first conservation easement of almost 200 acres in New Sharon, Franklin County.
2016 – Added almost 3 acres to Mount Phillip in Rome, Kennebec County. Also purchased to protect 1.25 acres near French Mountain in Rome, Kennebec County.
2017 – Acquired conservation easement of almost 100 acres in Belgrade, Kennebec County.