In 1999, a group of preservation minded residents formed a non-profit organization, pursued an aggressive fundraising campaign and purchased Skyline Farm in North Yarmouth, Maine. This is one of the few farms in the town’s village center with its original land, fifty-four acres of fields and woods. (35 1/2 acres of fields and 18 1/2 acres of mixedwoodland with streams that are alive with aquatic life, deep gullies and colorful wildflowers).
"What is truly remarkable," writes Edward A. Hobler, Advisory Service Co-Chair, Greater Portland Landmarks, "is that the entire farmstead - the land and the buildings - remains intact." In recent years, there has been increasing development pressure on surrounding lands, with more than 13 homes being built on land directly adjacent to the farm since 1987.
Part of the beauty of Skyline Farm is the unobstructed view of the farm as one drives down The Lane from the center of town, with the backdrop of vistas that include Bradbury Mountain in Pownal. Also important is that a tributary of the Royal River flows through the farm, a second tributary borders the property and the farm sits within the aquifer of the Yarmouth Water District. Preserving the farm helps maintain water quality for the Royal River, Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine as well as a public water supply for the residents of Yarmouth and North Yarmouth.
Skyline Farm has protected its open space by putting 46 acres into a conservation easement held by the Royal River Conservation Trust. That land is open to the public for non-motorized recreational use during daylight hours. A 1.7 mile trail network, built by volunteers, was designed by John Morton of Thetford Center, Vermont. John has been involved in the design of more than 100 trail projects across the United States and abroad. A seven-time Olympic participant, twice as an athlete for the US Biathlon Team and most recently as Chief of Course for Biathlon events at the Salt Lake City Olympics (2002), John began designing trails in 1989.
Inspired by the late Ken Sowles’ (previous owner) passion for horse drawn carriages, a Carriage Museum was established by renovating the historic indoor riding arena, originally built in the 1950’s. The museum is dedicated to educating people about the history of carriage and sleigh driving, an important part of the development of transportation before the automobile era.