153 acres on Paris Hill protected by land trust

Posted Aug. 11, 2013, at 5:34 a.m.

PARIS — A conservation easement on 153 acres of mixed woodland and hay field off Ryerson Hill Road on Paris Hill has been donated to the Western Foothills Land Trust.

The easement was recorded with the Oxford County Registry of Deeds on July 29 by Jon and Carla Magoun, who have lived in their home on the property for 35 years.

According to trust director Lee Dassler, the easement protects the parcel from future development or subdivision and could be part of a larger conservation project.

“This easement has the potential to be the beginning of a conservation corridor that can stretch to Buckfield,” Dassler said in an interview at her Norway office Friday.

“It’s already a sizable easement that will provide good habitat just on its own, but it has huge potential,” she said.

The donation might inspire other Paris Hill landowners to consider placing their land under the trust’s protection, Dassler hoped.

The conserved property includes about 30 acres of hay fields and 123 acres of woodland and forested wetlands, including 1,503 feet of Cole Brook, a tributary of the Little Androscoggin River.

According to Dassler, the land was first settled by Levi Hubbard, who moved to Paris in 1785 and served as a member of the Massachusetts House and Senate and in the 13th Congress as a representative from Massachusetts.

Hubbard died in Paris in 1836. After his death, the new owner planned a 20-lot subdivision on the property that never materialized, Dassler said.

The trust has two existing conservation easements on Paris Hill, including a 27-acre parcel at the Paris Hill Country Club and another 35-acre parcel, donated in 1991, according to Dassler.

Although the easement prevents development on the property, it does not transfer ownership. According to Dassler, the trust is responsible for making sure past and future owners adhere to the restrictions on development.

Reached at her home on Friday, Carla Magoun said it was always the couple’s intention to conserve the land.

“I don’t think anything is changing in our life,” Magoun said. “It’s just that we wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be developed, or sold to a developer or broken up into smaller parts.”

A 1.26-acre parcel around the couple’s house is exempt from the easement restrictions.

According to Dassler, the couple’s brick home was built with salvaged material from the original massive, four-chimney house on the property that burned in a 1903 fire.

The easement allows the landowner to grant public access rights, but Magoun said the couple had no plans to do so.

Other properties the trust owns, such as the Roberts Farm and Witts Swamp preserves in Norway, have networks of public hiking, walking and skiing trails. The trust is working on a similar trail plan for 1,250 acres of preserved land in Buckfield’s Virgil Parris Forest.

Western Foothills Land Trust owns or protects 5,676 acres in 10 towns in the Oxford Hills region.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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