Save the Ice Pond (2013)
Curtis Rindlaub's video announced the possibility of losing the Ice Pond to development, and the beginning of PILP's fundraising effort to save it in late 2013.
A Year of Hard Work and Progress at the Ice Pond
Ice Pond Update, June 2022
If you’ve been near the Ice Pond lately, you may wonder what’s up with all the
markers and labels at this beloved Peaks Island Land Preserve property. For the past
year, a group of islanders (led by Thaea Lloyd) have met at the meadow for an hour
every Saturday morning (skipping the blizzards!) to help create what’s hoped will be an
even more robust ecosystem there. The group has removed aggressive non-native plants
which were elbowing out more diverse native species, and re-planted with a selection of
100 native plants (29 species). These new plantings, which went into the ground in early
May, are thanks to generous donations to the Peaks Island Land Preserve from several PILP members, and include dogwood, bayberry, elderberry, blackberry, swamp milkweed, Joe
Pye weed, Cranesbill geranium, Northern blue flag iris, blue vervain, New England aster,
and many others.
In both private and public areas of the island, it’s encouraging that more and
more people seem to be aware of how much birds, butterflies, insects, and small animals
depend upon the life-giving combination of diverse ground cover, vigorous understory,
and tall trees to provide their nutrition and shelter. During the first year of this project,
it’s been important to the Ice Pond group not only to remove “aggressive plants” but,
equally important, to replace them with plants that give back generously to the creatures
here. Thank you to the steadfast Saturday morning volunteers who’ve provided muscle
power and good cheer to this multi-year effort. We hope the new plants will spread their
beauty and thrive at the Ice Pond and bring much pleasure to all who visit there.
Ice Pond Update, December 2016
We are working with the DEP and the City of Portland with regard to repairs to the Ice Pond dam, which may include the removal of silt that has accumulated in the pond.
Ice Pond Update, December 16, 2016
On December 12 PILP formally conveyed to Oceanside Conservation Trust of Casco Bay a conservation easement, which has been recorded in the Cumberland Registry of Deeds, setting forth the land use restrictions that will forever apply to the Ice Pond and committing to OCT, jointly with PILP, the responsibility for maintaining those restrictions and providing ongoing stewardship for the property. PILP is in discussions with the Department of Environmental Protection, the City of Portland, and a potential contractor with regard to the permitting and construction of the repair of the Ice Pond dam. There has already been skating at the pond, although the vacillating weather has not been cooperative.
Ice Pond Closing Party, January 2015
Michelle Brown's video of the skating party to celebrate the closing of the sale of the Ice Pond to the Peaks Island Land Preserve, January 2015.
Ice Pond Update, January 2014
On December 30, 2014 our good neighbors, Bill and Melissa Bunton, signed the deed conveying the Ice Pond property to Peaks Island Land Preserve. The closing date had been extended by six months in order that PILP could apply for, and obtain, a substantial grant from the Portland Land Bank to assist with the acquisition. PILP has drafted a conservation easement which we will soon convey to Oceanside Conservation Trust of Casco Bay, forever preventing development of this small but precious property. The Ice Pond and the land immediately surrounding it have now been permanently preserved as open space for the use and enjoyment of the public.
Much remains to be done. After a hundred years, it is hardly surprising that the pond is heavily silted up and the dam needs repairs. PILP deliberately continued its fundraising efforts beyond the raising of the $60,000 acquisition price, but the extra amount we raised through the generosity of over 200 islanders will not be enough to complete these important projects. We are working with the City of Portland, for whom the Ice Pond provides a source of water for firefighting needs in that quadrant of the island, to work out the most practical and affordable method of accomplishing these projects.
Following is PILP's original appeal in late 2013 to the Island community explaining the opportunity presented to purchase the Ice Pond, and the importance such a place holds for us.
HELP SAVE THE ICE POND
BAD NEWS. The 2.7-acre property that surrounds and includes the Peaks Island Ice Pond has just been sold! It is a stunning reminder that the Ice Pond, although used by generations for summer solace and winter skating, has always been private property, with the potential to be closed off to the community at any time.
GREAT NEWS. The new owner, Bill Bunton, generously approached Peaks Island Land Preserve and through them has offered the greater island community an option to purchase most of the property, including the pond, for preservation and recreation forever.
WHY SAVE THE POND? The Ice Pond is part of our lives, part of every islander’s and visitor’s island experience. We know it as the vista as we come upon the Backshore, the water before the sea. We know it as the glassy plate where our children learned to skate. Though man-made, it has become an important ecological gem attracting birds and bird-watchers. It is nearly contiguous to the already preserved Daveis Sanctuary and Skillings Woods. A hydrant taps its water to protect nearby homes from fire. And it has the historical significance of having been formed by Harvey Trefethen to harvest ice for the iceboxes of island hotels and summer cottages. Throughout history, the Ice Pond has touched us all.
WE NEED YOUR HELP. We have only six months to raise $85,000 to purchase the property and begin repairs to the dam that forms the pond. This is not our usual annual appeal; we need your deep and generous support. To reach this goal, a significant number of island families need to give at the $1000 level, but every contribution, no matter how small, is vital. Consider this the ultimate gift to Peaks, to the island as we known it now and to its future.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. The time to give is now. Peaks Island Land Preserve is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Giving generously now will have immediate tax benefits for the 2013 tax year, and we welcome pledges for 2014 as well. If you would prefer to donate securities or include PILP in your estate plans, we can discuss the advantages of those options with you.
ABOUT PILP. Since its founding in 1995, Peaks Island Land Preserve has brought nearly 150 island acres under protection and stewardship, through conservation easements, outright gifts, and—only twice before—by asking the community to help with an outright purchase. Ever-increasing development pressure, escalating land costs, and dwindling open lands make the opportunity to protect such an important property as the Ice Pond exceptionally rare.
THANK YOU. Your help is critical in saving this Peaks Island icon, this place we all love. Few things we do in our lifetimes will have this kind of lasting impact. Please donate below or by check sent to:
Peaks Island Land Preserve, P.O. Box 99, Peaks Island, Maine 04108.