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. 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.
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. 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.