Walk with Casco open space group on public land

What: An informational walk with the Casco Open Space Commission

Where: Town-owned property off Route 302 in South Casco; park on the unpaved portion Ring Landing Road 

When: Saturday, Sept. 13, 9 a.m.

What to expect: Approximately an hour walk, a gentle walk with Open Space member and Ring’s Landing resident Frank Cantor leading.

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Over and over, residents have made it known both verbally and by their actions: Land preservation tops the list of qualities they like about Casco.

For the past few years, people on the Open Space Commission have been reviewing a couple large tracts of town-owned land. One is adjacent to the Sebago State Park and the other is in South Casco off Route 302 near Ring Landing.

According to Commission Chairman Eric Dibner, members favor the town keeping ownership of both pieces of property, rather than selling either parcel, he said. Additionally, both town-owned tracts are part of the Big Sebago Lake watershed, he said.

In mid-September the commission is organizing a group walk so people can view the layout of the land near Ring Landing Road.

“At the moment, we are taking a role of not doing much in terms of improvement,” he said.

“We are recommending that it be retained for open space. We have reached the decision that it should not be disposed of,” Dibner said.

The 70-acre parcel should be “retained for use by the public and for the protection of the environment. The idea is to allow hunting, hiking and snowmobiling,” which are among the current uses. Those activities are enjoyed mostly by nearby neighbors.

One of the drawbacks of this hidden gem is that the access is problematic, Dibner said.

“This piece of property comes right up to Route 302. There is a guard rail and a poison ivy covered embankment,” he said.

Therefore, people who want to attend the walk should park on Ring Landing Road in the area where the pavement ends and the road turns to dirt, Dibner said.

“We have talked to the neighbors, and it is okay.”

Also, people may want to car pool with friends.

Open Space Commission member Barbara York said the event is scheduled for Sept. 15 because that is a cooler time of the year and prior to hunting season. She said some residents have expressed interest in seeing the parcel.

According to Dibner, the plan is to maintain the status quo. But, if any changes are made, signs would be erected on the trail system.

If a plan did move forward it would likely be coordinated with Casco Town Manager Dave Morton and the Casco Board of Selectmen, Dibner said.

“It wouldn’t make sense to do nothing forever,” he said.

So, interested residents can dust off their hiking shoes and call like-minded friends to arrange a car pool.

“The point of this event is to look at it, and show people how wonderful the property is,” he said.

“It hasn’t received a tremendous amount of use because people don’t know about it,” he said.

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