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New opportunities to steward these cherished spaces

An important component that is core to the Preserve is the sheer fortunate set of circumstances that enabled our gardens and lands to become one larger entity. During the past couple of years, I have continually been trying to understand and piece together the various stories such as: What motivated Joseph Curtis to set aside land for the public that would become Thuya? How did Curtis in turn, inspire Charles Savage to become a steward of Thuya? What motivated Savage to help rescue and relocate as many plants as possible from Beatrix Farrand’s Reef Point? What was it about Mount Desert Island, Maine that inspired Abby and John D. Rockefeller Jr. to help establish a national park, summer home, and garden? Why did Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller commission Beatrix Farrand to design this summer garden?

I want to share with you some of what runs through my head when thinking about what makes the Preserve, the Preserve. If any of the events, inspirations, or motivations mentioned above had not happened, can you imagine how different we might be today? For example, what if Charles Savage had listened to nay-sayers who could have said, “moving Ms. Farrand’s plants will cost you more than they’re worth…” or, if Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller had determined that Maine was too remote and cold to build a garden? Thankfully, they all pushed ahead with their dreams and inspirations. We are now the fortunate stewards of these majestic gardens and lands that were built by visionaries and conserved for visitors who they would never meet. 

The Preserve is currently in the process of developing a comprehensive master plan to guide us on how best to continue the stewardship of these places while making them feel more like one, united entity. The formation of our gardens and preservation of public spaces happened separately from each other. When Asticou Azalea Garden was constructed, the landscape was envisioned as an amenity for guests of the Asticou Inn. Decades later, the parking and other visitor amenities were added. Similar stories exist about Thuya, Little Long Pond, and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden. We want to make sure that the unique qualities that all of us love are maintained while improving parking, circulation, infrastructure, and interpretation so that all parts of the Preserve represent a larger, unified entity. Thinking about the origins of the Preserve, how much these places are cherished, and the future opportunities to share our spaces with others really helps me see how fortunate we are and what an exciting time it is to be a part of it all.

Rodney Eason, CEO

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