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More in Community
Shepard’s Farm Family Preserve opens
NORWAY — The 2011 annual meeting of the Western Foothills Land Trust was held in August at the newly created Shepard’s Farm Family Preserve. The 20- acre parcel was donated to the Trust in December by the Detert family in recognition and thanks for many happy decades in the Norway community.
To be known as Shepard’s Farm Family Preserve, the donated land has a rich history and has belonged to a series of notable local figures: Henry Rust, Benjamin Witt, Joshua Crockett, Charles Freeman, John Shepard and Bill and Jan Detert. In July, Joy Moll gave a wonderful presentation at the Norway Library on the evolution of land ownerships on the southern stretches of Crockett’s Ridge including Shepard’s Farm.
Undulating former pasture and managed woodlands, Shepard’s Farm Family Preserve sits high on Crockett Ridge and enjoys views of the Paris hills and of Streaked Mountain. Perfectly suited for kite flying, safe sledding and snowshoeing, the Preserve is a wonderful place for young families, dog walkers, star gazers, and picnickers. It is the wish of donor Bill Detert, former co-founder of Maine Machine Products, that the land be respectfully used now by the community and town whenever possible.
The annual meeting was a pleasant gathering of land trust friends and members of the extended Shepard family. After words from Trust President Bob Van Nest and staff Lee Dassler, Bill Detert shared his composed thoughts on the family’s donation and ties to Norway. “As immigrants from suburban Chicago in 1956 our family has had an opportunity to realize and appreciate the many virtues and opportunities present in Norway. We have known this land for a long time. We acquired it in the 1980s and feel it an appropriate vehicle to express our grateful thanks to Norway for all she has done, provided, and made possible in the lives of our family. Thank you Norway. Thank you Western Foothills Land Trust by providing a vehicle for this to happen in a convenient, dependable way. We fervently hope citizens will embrace and use this land with pleasure and pride in their town.”
Appropriate to the tone of the evening, and of the overall civic generosity of the gift given, deer quietly grazed along the edges of the Shepard’s Farm pasture during the gathering. After eating (great light fare by Café Nomad), laughter, speech giving and tears, a rainbow came out.
With town support, the Trust has completed a new entry and small parking area for Shepard’s Preserve off of Crockett Ridge Road north of the Causeway. There is a sign similar in overall design to the Roberts Farm Preserve sign at the entrance; use icons specify non-motorized recreation: dogs are welcome, as are hikers, snow-shoers, sledding parties, and Nordic skiers. Motorized vehicles are not allowed. Soon a modest plaque recognizing the Deterts donation and a small kiosk will be installed at the parking area. Trails and trail maps will be developed; for the time being the community is welcomed to enjoy autumn color from the open pasture. Park-like in nature and close to other residences, hunting on site is not appropriate; the Preserve will be posted during hunting season. As with all parks and preserves, carry in/carry out should be respected.
Shepard’s Farm Family Preserve is also contiguous with the Trust’s Witt Swamp Preserve, creating a 161-acre protected corridor for wildlife. In the future there may be the potential of a walking trail linking the two Preserves and Pleasant and Crockett Ridge Roads. This fall, Carl Castanzi and students from the Ganderia School will be developing the trail head and walking trail on the uplands of Witt Swamp off Pleasant St..
The Board of the Western Foothills Land Trust, and the Norway community present and future would like to express their thanks to the Detert family for making the Shepard’s Farm Family Preserve a reality.