From house lot to habitat
Couple donates trade land for conservation
With the enthusiastic permission of the donor, a small house lot in Bristol is helping to fund new conservation efforts in the area.
There were several feet of snow on the ground when Gerry and Stanley Nathanson made the decision to buy a small piece of land in Bristol after looking at several other properties for sale. The retired New Jersey couple thought there was no place more beautiful than Maine when it was blanketed in snow.
Unfortunately, their dream of building a retirement home in midcoast Maine became impossible when Stanley was diagnosed with a progressive illness.
Wanting to honor Stanley’s love for the outdoors, Gerry contacted Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust last October about donating their land to benefit conservation.
The property was located near other conserved land. However, as a small lot within a residential neighborhood, it did not have significant value for wildlife, recreation, or water quality. For this reason, Director of Land Conservation Joan Ray suggested Gerry consider donating the land as trade land.
Trade lands are properties donated to a land trust specifically to be sold, with the proceeds going to the land trust. They can be undeveloped, or have buildings on them.
In this case, using the property as trade land would mean the Nathanson’s house lot could be sold, and Coastal Rivers could use the proceeds to conserve even more land with greater conservation value.
Gerry was enthusiastic about using the land she and her husband had purchased as trade land. The property was transferred to Coastal Rivers in February of this year, and by the end of April it was sold.
Stanley Nathanson passed away in late May, shortly after he and Gerry celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. In early June, Coastal Rivers was able to use part of the money from the sale of the Nathansons’ land to help complete the purchase of 13 acres adjacent to Castner Brook Community Forest in Damariscotta. The balance will be used for future acquisitions.
Gerry is thrilled that the gift of trade land she made to Coastal Rivers in honor of her husband will benefit a community and region they both loved. “Our family appreciates the opportunity to contribute to Maine’s environment,” she wrote.
Gerry Nathonson took this photo of herself and Stanley on their 57th wedding anniversary earlier this year.