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FBC closes on former golf course in Trenton, site of future Jordan River Preserve

October 15, 2023

Frenchman Bay Conservancy closed on the former Bar Harbor Golf Course at the end of September, conserving 186 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent uplands that will become the future Jordan River Preserve. 

By conserving the property FBC is protecting over 1 mile of vulnerable coastline from development, building climate resilience and critical wetland habitat for threatened and at-risk species, preserving harvester access, and creating new opportunities for accessible outdoor recreation.

TRENTON, ME— Frenchman Bay Conservancy closed on the former Bar Harbor Golf Course property at the end of September, conserving 186 acres of coastal wetlands and forests that will become the future Jordan River Preserve.

The property features over 1 mile of undeveloped shoreline, as well as tidal salt marsh and high value tidal wading bird and waterfowl habitat. The offshore mudflats are valuable as well, and mapped by Maine’s Department of Marine Resources as a seed mussel conservation area. Jordan River Bay includes over 1,200 acres of productive softshell clam and blue mussel beds.

“We plan to restore the property’s natural landscape from its past life as a manicured golf course, focusing on marsh migration and the protection of native plant and animal species that are rare, threatened, or endangered and species of concern,” says Aaron Dority, FBC’s Executive Director. “This is a unique project along the Maine coast and when completed, the preserve will be a resource not only for wildlife, but for the local community. We plan to build trails that highlight the property, while balancing conservation goals, and will ensure shoreline access for local harvesters.”

The conservation of the future Jordan River preserve protects habitat for bobolinks, a grassland bird species, that has been documented on the property. Bobolinks are designated as one of the “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” in Maine.

The property’s history as a golf course offers a prime opportunity to invest in an accessible trail system. While trail construction is still years away, FBC is planning now so that we can continue building new ways for all members of our community to get outside and enjoy this beautiful location.

Significant financial support for this project was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), who awarded FBC and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife a $1 million grant towards acquisition. This project was one of 21 national projects selected in eight coastal states to protect, restore, or enhance nearly 14,000 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent upland habitats under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program.

FBC is thankful for the support from U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, and Senator Angus King, Chair of the Senate National Park Subcommittee, who announced the award earlier this year. 

“Trenton is a beautiful gateway to Mount Desert Island, and protecting its ecological health is critical to the surrounding region, including Acadia National Park,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement.  “This conservation project will promote coastal resilience, safeguard native ecosystems and wildlife habitat, and provide economic benefits.”

Additional financial partners for the project include The Nature Conservancy in Maine, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and the Anahata Foundation.

For questions or further information, please contact Aaron Dority, FBC’s Executive Director, at aaron@frenchmanbay.org; (207) 422-2328.

Related News:

Defunct golf course could become wildlife habitat (Bangor Daily News)

Frenchman Bay Conservancy gets $1M for golf course property (MDIslander)

Collins, King Announce $1 Million for Conservation Project in Trenton (Sen. Susan Collins Press Page)

Former golf course to be preserved (Ellsworth American)

A win-win situation (Letter to the Editor; Ellsworth American)