Machias, Maine – The Two Rivers Campaign led by Machias-based Downeast Coastal Conservancy (DCC) inched closer to its $1.9 million fundraising goal today thanks to a 5-year, $50,000 pledge from Machias Savings Bank.
The Two Rivers project will protect over 1,000 acres and 4 miles of riverfront in the Machias Valley. The properties – located along the Middle and Machias rivers near downtown Machias and Whitneyville – are connected by the Down East Sunrise Trail that runs 85 miles from Washington Junction in Ellsworth to Ayers Junction near Calais.
The Two Rivers Conservation Area will be open to the public and managed as community forest and recreation lands. Its proximity to the Down East Community Hospital and local schools will provide opportunities for environmental education, outdoor recreation, and community wellness.
“Machias Savings Bank is extremely excited about the Two Rivers Project and we are pleased to make such a worthwhile contribution to a great cause. This project will help create an opportunity for people to come and visit Downeast Maine as well as provide hands-on learning opportunities for our youth,” commented Traci Sanborn, Senior Vice President of Machias Savings Bank.
“We are thrilled by the strong support of Machias Savings Bank for the Two Rivers project. This gift shows their commitment to the community they call home and is an important investment in the quality of life and future of the Machias Valley,” stated local business owner and Downeast Coastal Conservancy President, David Dowley.
To raise the final $19,000, Downeast Coastal Conservancy and local businesses recently launched the Sponsor-an-Acre program to boost the number of local contributions. In addition to monetary gifts, several local businesses have offered in-kind support including materials, equipment, and labor.
“Our goal is for the community to feel pride and ownership in this project and be the ones to take it across the finish line”, remarked DCC’s Executive Director, Tom Boutureira. “This project highlights the historic and natural resources of the rivers and ensures they are a vital part of our future and forever open to the public for enjoyment”, he added.
Starting in 2013, DCC will begin public access improvements to encourage the responsible use of these properties and the waterways. Parking areas, trails and bridging, pull-offs on the Sunrise Trail, signage, and visitor interpretive materials will be developed. Sites along the rivers will also be available for low-impact day use such as swimming, picnicking, and fishing.
Approximately $100,000 will be invested between 2013 – 2015 in the initial public access improvements using local labor and materials. A $500,000 stewardship endowment for the properties will be invested at the Maine Community Foundation to provide ongoing funding for property management and other related costs such as insurance and property taxes.
Donations of any size are welcome. Learn more about how you can Sponsor-an-Acre online at www.TwoRiversCampaign.org or by stopping by the DCC Office. Tax deductible donations to the Two Rivers Campaign can be mailed to Downeast Coastal Conservancy, PO Box 760, Machias, ME 04654, please make your check out to “Two Rivers Campaign.”