Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 30, 2020 and The Weekly Packet, January 30, 2020
Public access to Bakeman Beach guaranteed
Recent gift by land trust welcomed by town of Brooksville
Maine Coast Heritage Trust has gifted Bakeman Beach, about 780 feet of shorefront, to the town of Brooksville to secure long-term public access.
The town of Brooksville is now the owner of the stretch of sand on Cape Rosier known as Bakeman Beach, thanks to a recent land conservation effort buoyed by local supporters, and spearheaded by Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a statewide land conservation organization.
While much of the approximately half-acre parcel is submerged, it includes about 780 feet of shorefront that is Bakeman Beach.
For decades, the beach on Weir Cove Road has been used by community members for swimming and picnicking, as well as for some commercial fishing uses and seaweed gathering. Now the town owns the beach and, as part of the arrangement with MCHT, it will always stay open to public use, a press release reports.
The property that includes the beach was listed for sale a few years, reawakening the longtime worry of locals and members of the board of selectmen that it might be closed off and privatized. However, the sellers agreed to sell off just the beach to Maine Coast Heritage Trust with a goal of ensuring its availability for public use in the long term.
Speaking about the project, selectmen John Gray, Horace (Hal) Snow, and Richard Bakeman commented, “It is wonderful to finally get a piece of land that town residents have always used, into town ownership. We’re grateful to Maine Coast Heritage Trust for making this conservation project possible. It will be available for the public’s enjoyment from now on, without any contention.”
MCHT was able to talk to enough people with ties to this area who were willing to contribute to the project so that the full purchase price could be raised. “We are very grateful to those donors who helped make this possible. We can’t do this work without people who step up and help at whatever level they can,” said Ciona Ulbrich, Senior Project Manager for Maine Coast Heritage Trust, who served as the point person on this project over the years.
A late December 2019 special town meeting vote accepted the gift of the beach under a condition held by MCHT that guarantees that the public has the right to use the beach for recreational and fishing uses. The deed transferring the property to the town was recorded at the Registry of Deeds on January 15.