by Kevin McKeon
Gail Browning was honored on a recent Saturday morning for her generous donation of over 26 acres of land along High Street in Sanford. Mousam Way Land Trust gratefully accepted this wonderful property, which abuts the Trust’s Fawcett-Goodwin Reserve. There’s now a tract of over 45 acres of forest and meadow, with walking trails being sited and blazed—all just a stone’s throw from Sanford’s urban area.
The Browning Family Reserve sits atop the highest point of High Street, where Gail and her late husband Carl had planned earlier in their lives to build their home. The family would spend time picking up brush, making the area look pretty, and exploring the woods. Life got busy, time passed and the Brownings made their home elsewhere. But the family always loved this land, so Gail decided to keep it forever in woods and meadow—dedicated to the Family and the memory of Carl. She said, “Carl would be very happy with this Reserve”.
Bud Johnston, President of the Trust, said while leading a Nature Walk, that Sanford Mills, a previous owner in the early 1900’s and active in shipping, probably lumbered pine to supply its sawmill for making shipping crates. Then LaValley Lumber’s ownership transformed the area into a northern hardwood forest. The power line corridor sits in the Reserve’s center, adding valuable forest edge wildlife habitat; Raptors are often seen perching here, awaiting unsuspecting prey to emerge from the thick growth.
Bud went on to say that the educational and recreational possibilities include bird and wildlife watching, rare species management, interpretive trails. The wetland, forest edge, and mixed forest habitats are able to support a wide range of wildlife; some rare species have already been seen. The parking area at Fawcett-Goodwin currently acts as the trailhead for both of these wonderful properties. Thanks to Gail and the Browning family, this area will be enjoyed for generations.