The Meadow on Cliff Island is now legally preserved forever as a conservation property of great benefit for both Island residents and visitors, today and in perpetuity. A Conservation Easement has been donated by its new owner, Cliff Island Corporation for Athletics, Conservation and Education (ACE), to Oceanside Conservation Trust of Casco Bay (OCT) early in 2021. The Meadow’s eleven acres have a long and interesting history as a resource on Cliff. For much of the past century, it has been stewarded and actively cared for by two individual, private owners; in 2020, however, ownership passed over to the long-standing Cliff nonprofit, ACE. ACE and OCT have now collaborated on the preservation of four of the Island’s most well-loved open space properties.
The Meadow comprises eleven acres of shorefront land, including a good deal of wetlands as well as several acres of trails amid both softwoods and hardwoods and, most notably, the relative rarity of eleven hundred feet of sandy beach. In all of Maine, there are but seventy miles of beach, or only two percent of its shoreline.
For perhaps thousands of years, Maine’s indigenous peoples have likely trod on The Meadow. More recently, for more than two centuries, Cliff Island residents and guests have enjoyed it for its serenity, its beauty, its availability for passive recreation and its ready access to beach and ocean. Given its level terrain, it likely was once well-farmed. Early in the twenty-first century, there was a moment in time when it might have sported one or more private residences, but a so-called “conservation angel” stepped in to change its course unalterably toward preservation as a publicly available community resource. Forever.
On this parcel, tomorrow’s generations of Cliff Island kids can learn to enjoy the same sense of place, swim in the same tidepools, share the same vistas as their forebears have: the seagulls wheeling overhead, the deer and turkeys mingling in the reopened fields, the jutting middle ledge, the boats bobbing on moorings or plying their trade just offshore.