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Frenchman Bay Conservancy: Protecting Special Places

Frenchman Bay Community Forest is a 4500-acre conservation project that was protected in 2021.

The shorefront trail at Frenchman Bay Conservancy’s Salt Pond Preserve immerses you in the sights and sounds of Maine’s iconic coastline. You can hear the quiet murmur of lobsterboats in the distance while smelling the fresh, salty ocean breeze, and watching sailboats rock back and forth off the Sullivan shoreline in the crisp Maine sunshine, with Cadillac Mountain an unmistakable landmark on the horizon. Downeast Maine is filled with natural treasures, such as Salt Pond Preserve, and Frenchman Bay Conservancy is committed to conserving and stewarding places like this in Hancock County. From bogs in the Schoodic Peninsula that are home to migrating waterfowl and rare plant species, to the craggy granite cliffs with sweeping views of Mount Desert Island, Frenchman Bay Conservancy protects the distinctive ecosystems that make Downeast Maine unique.

Salt Pond Preserve offers views of the coast that are off the beaten path. Photo by Kelly Bellis.

Today, Frenchman Bay Conservancy’s work is more critical than ever before. Maine now faces the highest residential development pressure in a generation, and the pace of development in Hancock County is increasing faster than in some other parts of the state. As the demand for land increases, so do new threats to the environment and public access points to land and water. Frenchman Bay Conservancy works with community partners to keep favorite recreation spots free and open to the public, providing opportunities for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and getting out on the open water.

Founded in 1987, the Conservancy is celebrating its 35th anniversary of protecting these special places. What started as a project between a handful of local residents to protect a beloved community resource, Donnell Pond, from development has grown into a larger-scale conservation effort to provide clean water, wildlife corridors, and access to Downeast Maine’s natural treasures for generations.

FBC protects wildlife habitat for Maine’s iconic species. Photo by Gerard Monteux.

Frenchman Bay Conservancy prioritizes landscape-scale conservation — networks of connected forests, lakes, ponds, and wetlands—because these intact regions provide critical habitat for wildlife species and promote climate resilience. To date, Frenchman Bay Conservancy has conserved over 10,000 acres in eastern Hancock County, protecting a broad variety of ecosystems and traditional land uses, including forest, wetlands, coastline, mountains, blueberry barrens, and waterfront along a wild and scenic river. The Conservancy also stewards over 30 miles of safe and sustainable trails so that future generations can enjoy the many scenic vistas, sandy beaches, rocky coastlines, and more that we explore today.

Frenchman Bay Conservancy is your local land trust in eastern Hancock County, Maine, dedicated to preserving the region’s distinct ecosystems, lands, and waters for the benefit of all, from the Union River and Frenchman Bay watersheds east to the Hancock County line. To learn more and support this work protecting these special places, please visit