About IHT

Photo by Lee Fay

Deer Isle is a spectacular island community of 24,000 acres and 112 miles of shoreline, comprising the towns of Deer Isle and Stonington and outlying islands.

The Island Heritage Trust is a non-profit private land trust dedicated to conservation that protects significant open space, scenic areas, wildlife habitats, natural resources, and historic and cultural features that offer public benefit and are essential to the character of the Deer Isle area.

Our membership is open to all (See Membership/Donations). We are funded by the tax-deductible charitable contributions of our members. A board of 13 volunteer members governs the Trust through its Chair and Executive Director and staff.

Mission Statement

IHT contributes to the well-being of the island community by conserving its distinctive landscapes and natural resources, maintaining public access to valued trails, shoreline and islands, and by providing educational programming for all ages.


Island Heritage Trust was founded in 1987 by citizens concerned about protecting Deer Isle from acute development pressure that threatened to cut off residents from the shore and traditional use of the land.

In the intervening years, the Trust has taken in, through voluntary donation, conservation easements on over 771 acres of shore land, wildlife habitat, islands, and forests, protecting over 13 miles of shore.

At the same time, IHT has taken ownership of eighteen properties from Mark Island with its lighthouse, Settlement Quarry, and Causeway Beach. (See Conservation Options and Visit Our Lands.) Our offices are now in our own building next to the Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society in Sunset.

After several part-time Executive Directors, Mac Herrling was hired as its first full-time “ED” in December, 2003. His hiring began a process to go with professional management and to boost our stewardship fund to take care of the preserves and conservation easements we protect in perpetuity.

In 2008, the Trust hired George Fields as our part-time Stewardship Coordinator, bringing a further degree of professionalism to IHT's operations. After a nationwide search, IHT hired Mike Little as its second Executive Director. IHT is working to meet the challenges of land trust management in this new era.

Photo by Ann Flewelling

Conservation Program

The conservation program of the Island Heritage Trust is directed to one goal: permanent conservation of land that offers public benefit and  that preserves the  natural and scenic resources of Deer Isle for future generations.

All land owned by IHT (459 acres) is open for public access although most of our conservation easements are not open to the public.

Conserving Land

In each case, we work by voluntary, cooperative, and confidential relationships with individual landowners to develop the most appropriate conservation method for their property.

Deciding to conserve your land requires careful, thorough consideration of your family's interests for the future of the property. The heart of the process is really your hope to permanently protect the scenic beauty, wildlife habitats, and valuable natural resources of your land.

Donating a Conservation Easement

A conservation easement is a type of deed that keeps land in private ownership but has specific covenants that describe how the land can be used. The easement is donated to Island Heritage Trust, which accepts a perpetual obligation to monitor the property to assure that the conservation protections will be sustained in the future.

Easements are custom-fit to the interests of the landowner and the Trust, with the Trust ensuring the public benefits and conservation values of the property are conserved.

Once land is under easement, the landowners may live on and manage the land, sell it, or pass it on to their heirs. It is still their land. The easement, however, is a legal agreement that remains in effect forever and is enforceable in court. Because the land remains in private ownership, the landowners continue to manage it and decide if the public is allowed on their land. Public benefits that result from conservation easements include protection of all issues in our mission statement from open space and public access to wildlife habitat.

Island Heritage Trust holds conservation easements on 771 acres around Deer Isle.

Donating Land

Our preserves are properties for which the Trust owns full title. Some preserves were donated to us by generous landowners who wished to leave a legacy for future generations by permanently conserving their property while providing the community with a full opportunity to appreciate its natural and scenic values. When a landowner offers to donate land to the Trust, we evaluate it thoroughly to determine that it has substantial conservation value and public benefits. Once land is accepted for conservation as a preserve, we are committed to protecting it perpetually, so we need to assure that the proposed preserve will merit the effort and expense of permanent stewardship obligations.

Purchasing Conservation Land

Because real estate is quite expensive and we must raise funds for land purchases, purchasing land is not our general practice. However, in some instances, the Island Heritage Trust will purchase properties with exceptional conservation values. When we do decide to purchase land, we negotiate on a voluntary basis with the landowner for a “bargain sale” price.

Some landowners can benefit from a "bargain sale" of their property—that is, a sale for substantially below the appraised value. The difference between the appraised value and the purchase price is considered a tax-deductible charitable donation. A bargain sale is a true demonstration of the landowner's generosity and commitment to conserving their property, while producing important mutual financial benefits for both landowner and Land Trust.

Island Heritage Trust Board of Trustees

Woodley Osborne, Chair
Bill Wiegmann, Vice-Chair
Pete Dane, Treasurer
Linda Glaser, Secretary

Mickie Flores
Karen Hill
Nancy Gross
Kenneth Kleeman
Steve Rowan
Douglas Wilson

Paul J. Miller, Executive Director
Marissa Hutchinson, Development Director & Volunteer Coordinator
Martha Bell, Environmental Educator
David Vandiver, Stewardship Director
Pat Gross, Bookkeeper

Island Heritage Trust Committees
Chair: Woody Osborne
Pete Dane
Woody Osborne
Bill Wiegmann

Building & Grounds Committee

Chair: Woody Osborne
Ken Crowell
Judy McCaskey
Marissa Hutchinson (staff)
Mike Little (staff)

Chair: Pete Dane
Pete Dane
Ken Kleeman
Brad Perry
Joyce Raymond

Hospitality Committee
Chairs: Joy Kleeman, Miriam Antich & Chick White
Joni Banks
Martha Dane
Darby French
Linda Glaser
Karen Hill
Connie Rosenblum

Land Committee
Chair: Ken Crowell
Roger Bergen
Nancy Gross
Diane Walker
Bill Wiegmann
David Vandiver (staff)
Mike Little (staff)

Lily Pond Management Committee
Chair: Pat Gross
Herm Kidder
Linda Stratton
Mike Wood
Mike Little (staff)

Communications Committee
Elke Dorr
Woody Osborne

Nominating Committee
Chair: Roger Bergen
Abby Barrows
Linda Campbell
Bill Haviland

Program Committee
Chair: Doug Wilson
Liz Zentz
Barbara Chesney
Marissa Hutchinson (staff)

Stewardship Committee
Chair: Ann Hooke
Steve Cox
Nancy Gross
Joyce Raymond
Gordon Russell
Diane Walker
David Vandiver (staff)

Store Committee
Mike Little (staff)

Volunteer Committee
Marissa Hutchinson (staff)


Island Heritage Trust
420 Sunset Road ~ Deer Isle, Maine
Mail: P.O. Box 42 / Deer Isle, ME 04627
Phone: 207-348-2455
FAX: 207-348-2455
E-mail: iht@islandheritagetrust.org


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