2013-03-29 / People

Cape man recognized for ‘eco’ effort

Staff Writer
By Jack Flagler

Ted Darling Ted Darling “There are two primary reasons that people move to Cape Elizabeth or stay here,” Ted Darling said, “One is the natural environment and two is the school system.”

Darling is a member of the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust Board of Directors and for the last five years he has served as the organization’s president. Earlier this month, he was recognized for his part in the land trust’s efforts to preserve the natural beauty and rural character that makes Cape Elizabeth such an attractive destination.

At a ceremony in Portland on Tuesday, March 12, Darling was awarded the eco-Excellence award for Cape Elizabeth from ecomaine, a nonprofit waste management company owned and operated by 22 municipalities around the state. The awards are given to individuals or companies in each of the 22 member communities.

Darling was president of the land trust through its fiveyear effort to complete the purchase of a property known as Robinson Woods II, a 63.6-acre piece of land that includes fields, ponds and hiking trails near Shore Road. He was nominated by Frank Strout, a fellow member of the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust Board of Directors.

The land trust purchased the property from members of the Robinson Family for $1.1 million in November. The family has allowed the public to use the land through the years, but Darling said the agreement ensures that access will remain unimpeded.

“What’s humbling about the whole experience is having done something, so long as the rule of law applies, that will be for perpetuity,” he said.

The five-year process included many hurdles for the land trust, Darling said, including securing $350,000 from the town and finding a way to accommodate the wishes of abutting land owners.

Those challenges “seemed insurmountable at times,” he said, adding, “but when things seemed like they weren’t going to happen, something would break and they would move forward.”

Darling moved to Cape Elizabeth in 1991 and said the town’s character has remained remarkably unchanged throughout the years he has lived there.

“Sometimes you go back to a place and it’s barely recognizable, but people come back to Cape, these are still the same trails they enjoyed with they were younger,” Darling said. “Obviously development happens, but it’s done in a well-thought out and well-planned way in Cape.”

Although Darling was grateful to receive the award, he said he felt “over-recognized” for his individual contributions when, in reality, the Robinson Woods II purchase came as the result of years of hard work from volunteers and donations from thousands of individuals.

“As I look back, there’s a sense of real pride in the team. There’s a lot of people that put a lot of effort into making this happen,” Darling said.

Although the Robinson Woods purchase was the land trust’s number one priority throughout Darling’s time as president, it was not the only project on the land trust’s list. The organization also secured public easements to connect a piece of the Greenbelt trail near Alewive’s Brook Farm and preserve the Turkey Hill Farm property.

Last year, Cape Elizabeth’s eco-Excellence award went to the TD Beach to Beacon 10K road race. Previous winners also include Lisa Fernandes, Lauren Hadiaris and the Cape Elizabeth High School Environmental Club.

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