Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a Topsham-based conservation organization, is celebrating its 50th anniversary and the completion of a six-year campaign to raise $125-million.
Tim Glidden, the group's president, says the funding comes at a time when sea level rise poses a threat to shoreline access and climate change threatens more than a third of Maine's native plants and animals.
"The decades ahead are really going to be important for Maine and the campaign — the success of that campaign — puts us in a good position to start on that work and to continue to keep the promises that we've made to Mainers for the last 50 years," Glidden says.
Maine Coast Heritage Trust was originally formed in 1970 to protect the Maine coast from "rapid and unplanned" development. Since then, the group has protected more than 150,000 acres, an area three times the size of Acadia National Park.
"We have increased access to the water in 45 coastal towns," Glidden says. "We've created 36 new preserves along the coast, conserved 55 miles of shoreline and I could go on — many islands."
Glidden says conservation of coastal properties typically has to be done on a smaller scale because the cost of waterfront property is so expensive.