Peaks Island Land Preserve is committed to the acquisition, preservation and stewardship in perpetuity of Peaks Island lands for the use and enjoyment of islanders and visitors.
The Peaks Island Land Preserve began in 1995 as a grass-roots campaign to save Battery Steele from development. The island community raised $70,000 to buy the 14-acre property and preserved it forever as a recreational and historical site.
PILP seeks to preserve land on Peaks Island for the use and enjoyment of islanders and visitors. Since its founding, Peaks Island Land Preserve has brought nearly 150 island acres under protection and stewardship which guarantees that the land will remain forever undeveloped. We acquire properties through conservation easements, gifts of land, and, in extreme circumstances, by asking the community to help with an outright purchase.
PILP is an all volunteer organization, with some members becoming Stewards or serving on the Board. Our 9-member Board of Directors is elected for staggered 3 year terms by the membership at the annual meeting in July. Please join us!
Peaks Island Land Preserve History
The impulse that led to the birth of Peaks Island Land Preserve was the threat that Battery Steele would be sold to private developers. Built in 1942 to protect Portland from German naval attack, the Battery never fired its gigantic guns in anger, and passed into private hands after the war. In 1994 its owner put the extraordinary 14-acre property on the market, and a group of islanders scrambled to save the Battery from becoming house lots. PILP was incorporated as a non-profit in late 1994 and raised the $70,000 purchase price with telethons, T-shirt sales, and tenacity. The closing took place on July 20, 1995. Soon thereafter, PILP conveyed a conservation easement to another land trust, Oceanside Conservation Trust, setting forth the property use restrictions – public access, no development – that will run with the land forever.
PILP had begun as an ad hoc campaign, but quickly evolved into an ongoing effort whose mission is the acquisition, preservation, and stewardship of open space for public use on Peaks Island. Since 1995 PILP has acquired either outright ownership or a conservation easement over a dozen properties comprising about 20% of the island’s 720 acres.
The largest and most important acquisition is a 98-acre parcel, owned by the City of Portland, that comprises a large wooded area in the center of the island, wrapping around Battery Steele and encompassing about ¾ mile of the back shore. PILP holds a conservation easement on this property, but acquired outright an abutting 20-acre parcel originally donated by David and Vivian Parker, and a smaller abutting parcel donated by Oceanside.
In 2014 PILP acquired the historic Ice Pond, beloved by generations of islanders for winter skating, and situated near two other parcels already under PILP’s control: the Daveis Sanctuary and Skillings Woods. Earlier, in two successive purchases PILP had acquired, with strong community support, stretches of woods adjacent to the ballfield. Over the years, smaller properties have been donated by Robert McTigue, Robert McIntyre, Hannah Russell, Anne and John Whitman, and Guy Gannett Communications. The location and size of all of these properties are shown on our map.
Your Land Preserve membership will help us continue to preserve and protect what we love about Peaks Island. Yearly membership is
$20 for an individual,
$30 for a family or household.
You may join or make a donation by mail, or pay by credit card here. To learn about volunteering or becoming a Steward, or donating land to Peaks Island Land Preserve, please contact us.
Peaks Island Land Preserve
Dedicated to preserving land for the community.
Please help take care of this land.
We have no camping available.
Fires require a City of Portland permit.
• See a map.
• Donate to PILP.
• Ask a question.
Please enjoy your visit!
Write to us:
Peaks Island Land Preserve
P.O. Box 99
Peaks Island, ME 04108
Board of Directors
John Whitman, President
Robert Villforth, Vice President
John Freeman, Treasurer
Director of Stewards Program