Vinalhaven Land Trust was incorporated in 1986, near the beginning of the land trust movement in downeast Maine. Since then, VLT has succeeded in conserving many “whole places” that have significant natural features and little or no development. Working with landowners and partner groups, Vinalhaven Land Trust has helped to preserve:
In addition to these wonderful preserves, Vinalhaven Land Trust has worked closely with the community on a number of additional endeavors. These other accomplishments include:
In 1993, George Flynn gave 1.3 acres along Sands Cove to Vinalhaven Land Trust to serve as a park in memory of Gosta Skoog, a long time boat-builder on the island whose last boat shop was on the site. As George was thinking about the future of his property after Gus died in 1987, he searched for some way to meld a love of the land with his affection and admiration for the sea and to commemorate the skills, work habits, and sturdy character of Gus Skoog. Soon thereafter, the VLT staff moved into the cabin-by-the-sea built by Gus near his boat house, and it became the VLT office. As the organization grew, so did the workspace needs, and in 2006-2007 the building underwent an additional expansion and landscaping.
Many hours were spent planning how the modest expansion could do more than provide the much needed office and meeting space. The result is that the office now serves as the center of conservation resources and environmental education for all of Vinalhaven. The resource room, designed for VLT’s expanding collection of books, maps, field guides and other information about the natural world, also provides an area where local naturalists could create displays of island flora, fauna, and geology in an effort to better educate visitors to the natural wonders of Vinalhaven.
Named at the 2008 annual meeting to honor Al and Hilary Creighton’s lifetime of accomplishment in conservation, the Al and Hilary Creighton Resource Room is now complete. Thoughtfully designed by Elaine Crossman and skillfully put together by Skip Thompson and Bob Candage, the well-lit room is furnished with efficiently arranged “made in Maine” maple cabinets for storage, a large bulletin board for timely displays, and a desk, chair, and window seat, creating a comfortable place for any interested individuals to come read, research, or consult with staff members. On a ceiling beam hangs a half model used by Gus Skoog in his boat building business and donated by George Flynn. Sue Dempster, Vinalhaven School teacher, has offered to consult with VLT on the organization of our printed materials. Study skins from John Drury’s bird taxidermy collection, which spans years of his research with local bird populations, are displayed there as well.
Skoog Park, just a short walk from the ferry terminal on Sands Road, is open during daylight hours for picnicking, exploring, and watching the activities of the harbor - lobstermen coming and going, the ferry, and young people in the Island Sail program learning to sail.
When the flag is up, visitors are welcome in the office to peruse the many maps of island ecology and visit the Al and Hilary Creighton Resource Room. Official office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.