Opinion Spotlight

Conservation and trails central to New Gloucester’s rural character

[Doug and Debra Smith]

Land conservation and trails have been a priority for New Gloucester since the 1990 comprehensive plan. Based on community input, the 2021 comprehensive plan update, to be voted on in June, affirms this commitment as more important than ever. 

Our town has benefited from the generosity and efforts of many who have protected and conserved thousands of acres of land, from the Chandlers and other families, to the Shakers and Pineland. The Royal River Conservation Trust has worked with landowners and donors to raise funds for and manage important habitat in New Gloucester. These joint conservation efforts have made it possible for New Gloucester to maintain its rural character, protect wild places and provide low-impact access to all. Imagine instead a patchworked landscape of housing developments. 

The Lower Village preserve will include about 180 acres with a trail and large areas of conserved wetlands and wildlife habitat. See maps here and links to other information about the project on the Trust’s web site.

Unfortunately, the GNG Little League’s 10 of these 180 acres has become a flash point for the entire project. While wholeheartedly supporting youth sports, and we like the idea of a really nice facility, we share the concerns of many about plans for a Little League tournament complex with multiple fields, lights, amplified sound and parking. 

We trust that the GNG Little League will share their preliminary plans and invite further community input to ensure that their final plans will be compatible with its location in this environmentally sensitive area and continue to address the impact on the immediate and larger community.

If you haven’t yet joined one of the walks/ information sessions hosted by the Royal River Conservation Trust, there are several coming up:

• Thursday April 15th 10:00 am. Park and meet on Church Road shoulder near Gloucester Hill Rd.

• Thursday April 22nd 5:30 pm. Park and meet at Route 231 Intervale Little League Ballfields

• Wednesday April 21st 5:30 pm. Park and meet at Route 231 Intervale Little League Ballfields

Comments or questions?

Contacts: RRCT (overall project)
• Alan Stearns, Royal River Conservation Trust, Executive Director Alan@RRCT.org 

• Mark Power, New Gloucester resident – Campaign Co-Chair  MPower@trane.com

Contacts: GNLL (Little League fields)
• Nate Stone, GNGLL President – Campaign Co-Chair  president@gnglittleleague.org

• Steve Libby, GNGLL, Campaign Co-Chair  stevenmlibby@portlandinsulation.net