February 21, 2024

400 Acres Protected in Casco

We’re excited to announce the permanent conservation of 400 acres of undeveloped forestland in Casco, known as Rolfe Hill. After a multi-year fundraising effort, LELT purchased the property in late January from members of the Rolfe and Speirs families, whose ownership dates back to the 1790s. 

The Rolfe Hill area is identified in the Town of Casco’s Open Space Plan for its significant ecological and recreational importance for residents. The land is home to over 60 acres of wetlands, vernal pools, and a trout stream. Located just half a mile from LELT’s Hacker’s Hill Preserve on Quaker Ridge Road, Rolfe Hill is an important addition to the region’s network of conserved lands. The property is also part of a contiguous block of forestland spanning over 1,700 acres between Quaker Ridge Road and Route 121. Large, contiguous forest blocks are important for species migration and adaptation.

“The Rolfe Hill property has been on LELT’s radar for a long time. Former Casco town manager Dave Morton was very aware of how important the property was to residents and was a big supporter of seeing the land conserved. At many points over the last few decades, Rolfe Hill faced significant development pressure with proposals ranging from a golf course to luxury condos. We’re proud to be a part of the Casco community and work on behalf of its residents to make sure the lands they have used and loved for generations will remain open for generations to come.” - Matt Markot, LELT Executive Director

Public Access Secured

Rolfe Hill has a long history of public access for recreation and hunting, and hosts the “Que 5” snowmobile and ATV trail. Now owned by LELT, public access to the property for hunting, fishing, hiking, and other recreational activities is permanently secured.

“The Rolfe and Speirs families were stewards of this land for over 200 years, and we are grateful to them for allowing public use on the old farm roads and trails. We are thrilled that Rolfe Hill, enjoyed by many for snowmobiling, hunting, cross country skiing, and horseback riding, is now protected from development.” - Connie Cross, LELT Board Member and Casco resident

Benefits for Water Quality

Located in an area of increasing development pressure, conservation of the 400-acre property plays an important role in safeguarding the water quality of Sebago Lake, which is the source of drinking water for over 200,000 Mainers and many Cumberland County businesses on a daily basis. Sebago Lake is so clean, thanks in large part to its forested watershed, that it is one of 50 surface water supplies (out of over 13,000) in the country that is not required to be filtered.

Rolfe Hill was identified by the conservation partnership Sebago Clean Waters (SCW) as a high priority for protection. SCW is a coalition of ten nonprofit partners, including LELT, working with the Portland Water District to accelerate the pace of land conservation in the Sebago Lake watershed in order to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and fish and wildlife habitat. 

“This forestland is a vital community resource, not only for the recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat it provides, but also for its important role in keeping Greater Portland’s water supply clean. Working with LELT to conserve this property furthers our mission of protecting the watershed and building collaborative capacity across the region.” - Karen Young, SCW Partnership Director

Future Plans

LELT will improve access to Rolfe Hill through the construction of a parking area and trail network. We will pay property taxes to the Town of Casco at the Open Space Current Use Rate

The property was conserved with financial assistance from the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program (MNRCP). MNRCP was created to manage the allocation of funds collected through Maine’s In Lieu Fee Compensation Program, and awards competitive grants to projects that restore and protect high priority aquatic resources throughout Maine. As part of the MNRCP grant, we will be completing a wetland restoration project on the property, which will include the removal of invasive purple loosestrife.


In total, LELT raised 1.1 million dollars to purchase the property and fund a stewardship reserve for the future care of the property. Funders for the project include MNRCP, The Nature Conservancy, Portland Water District, onX Maps, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Sebago Clean Waters, Davis Conservation Foundation, Ram Island Conservation Fund, The Conservation Fund in partnership with the Stifler Family Foundation, an anonymous foundation, and Lake Region community members.

Additional Information

The land is within the traditional and unceded territory of the Abenaki, a member tribe of the Wabanaki Confederacy. The Abenaki First Nations of Odanak and Wôlinak maintain reservations along the St. Francis and St. Lawrence Rivers in the Canadian province of Quebec, where they sought refuge following colonial warfare in the Saco, Presumpscot, and Androscoggin River watersheds during the 17th and 18th centuries.  

More information about Rolfe Hill, including maps, can be found here: lelt.org/rolfe-hill.

Rolfe Hill Slideshow by Maggie Lynn
Loon echo land trust

Our Land is Your Land