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Long Cove Lands Forever Conserved by the Georges River Land Trust

Posted March 19, 2020

Long Cove in St. George is a special place. From the start, Leslie Hyde and Anne Cogger, owners of Pocket Cove Farm shared a commitment to keep this small stretch of Maine’s beloved coastline wild and free. Thanks to their vision and generosity, and help from the George River Land Trust, shoreland on Long Cove and associated uplands are now permanently protected. Additional woodland along upper Jones Brook, which feeds into Long Cove, was simultaneously conserved by Robert Skoglund. They each invited Georges River Land Trust to partner with them to ensure the land would remain as it is, through a volunteer conservation agreement, called a conservation easement. Together, nearly 3/4th of a mile of shorefront and over 100 acres will never be developed.

In Anne’s words, “sustaining natural habitat and open space for generations to come was a priority. We did not see a conservation easement as just a possibility, it was a responsibility”.

This section of coastline in St. George is where the fresh water of Jones Brook, draining a good portion of the town's surface water, meets the saltwater below. The mixing water releases abundant nutrients available to wildlife and fish. Spending decades on the Cove, Leslie Hyde, Anne Cogger and their children, Andrew Hyde and Lily Hyde Sytsma, were aware of how the land and waters were used by their wildlife neighbors. The largely intact habitat and relatively undisturbed nature of Long Cove is home to important marine species such as striped bass, elvers and smelt spawn. Flounder, clams, mussels and sea worms thrive in the cove’s bottom. Bald eagles grace the cove and osprey and other hawks are also common. Wading and shore birds such as yellowlegs and semipalmated sandpipers feed on food in the mudflats. The upland woods and fields provide habitat for deer, moose, otter, turkey and mink.

These new conservation tracks fit into a larger goal to conserve Long Cove as a Significant Ecological Area (SEA), so named by the local conservation commission and endorsed by the Town of St. George. What inspired Les and Anne to conserve their own land, motivated Les to encourage the Conservation Commission to see the whole, and create the Jones Brook , Long Cove and Adjacent Islands SEA. While Les is no longer with us, he passed in December 2017, his legacy to see this special corner of the world available for future generations is being realized.

The benefits of this important conservation reach many in the community-the fishermen who depend upon clean water, the boaters who enjoy the scenic and wild shores, those who enjoy solitude and the peace of this remarkable place, wildlife advocates and avid bird watchers, as well as the wildlife that feed and breed here.

The story of conservation is ongoing. With the support of Georges River Land Trust’s members, as well as the work of our dedicated staff and volunteers, other landowners will be able to add their pieces to the vision and leave a legacy of conservation.