The Orono Land Trust (OLT) a local, accredited, 501(c)3 organization with an all-volunteer Board of Directors. Our mission is to protect, manage, and preserve portions of the natural environment in Orono and surrounding communities, for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.
Since 1986, OLT has matured as an organization, paralleling the growth of the national land conservation movement. Conservation of important natural communities, habitats, and species, comprehensive stewardship of fee and easement properties, public education, and regional conservation planning all have been added to the initial interest in trails and connectivity. OLT has detailed information on our properties. As a proud member of the Land Trust Alliance since 1991, we are an accredited Land Trust.
Before the formation of the OLT, many of the trails traversed privately owned land and were informally maintained by constant use and by intermittent spurts of pruning and blazing by users. The only trails on public land were those used by the cross-country track team on about fifty acres of Orono school property and in the UM forest.
As of 2018, OLT owned over 1,042 acres, held conservation easements on 1,494 acres, and provided stewardship and some monitoring on an additional 192 acres. Trail easements for connectivity of OLT parcels are on an additional 3.8 acres.
Orono now has an extensive system of trails, some trails of which have existed for at least one hundred years: strings of trails, knots of trails, trails on town property, connector trails (with permission) on private lands, or throughout the University of Maine forest, and trails on land owned by the Town of Orono and the OLT.
As of 2018 Town of Orono had approximately 50 miles of trails on more than 2,500 acres of public and private land open to the public, with connecting trails across private land provided by the good will of the owners, but often codified with trail easements (see Property list).
Orono Land Trust signs are placed at all trail-heads, and some have kiosks. OLT monitors vernal pools, the Stillwater River Trail, and the Caribou Bog Ski Trail. Trails are now available on 3 Veazie properties.
We publish a triennial newsletter to inform membership on the status of projects and activities, including walks, workshops, lectures, canoe trips, bicycling, and ski/snowshoe outings, in addition to several workdays. The efforts and successes of the Orono Land Trust is all accomplished by dedicated, local volunteers.