Beginning in the 1930s, the Girl Scouts acquired the property and used it as a summer camp, providing young women from more populous areas of the state with a place to get away and learn about nature. As the Girl Scouts’ program model changed, the camp was used less and less, and the property was put on the market. For years the community rallied for its protection and in 2014, the Kent Land Trust purchased the property with the intent to make it a nature preserve that will be open to the public for passive recreation such as hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, boating, fishing, swimming and wildlife viewing.

Our Role

Through our Land Conservation Loans program, we provided Kent Land Trust with a $350,000 loan to help acquire the Camp Francis property. This came at a critical time, allowing the land trust to purchase the property quickly while additional funding from state and federal grants were processed.

With our expertise in conservation real estate, finance and community engagement, the Land Conservation Loan Program accelerates the pace of conservation at the local level by providing capital right when it’s needed. This allowed Kent Land Trust to purchase the property before another buyer could.

Why This Project Matters

Protecting Camp Francis benefits current and future generations, not only because of its role as an outdoor recreational haven and a critical home for wildlife, but also because of its potential as a source of public drinking water and economic contributor to the local wood products industry through sustainable forestry.

This project also illustrates the importance local organizations have in protecting the special places that matter most to their community. Many land trusts, including Kent Land Trust, are partially or fully volunteer run. Working on a shoestring budget, they maximize their resources. Kent Land Trust alone has protected more than 1,800 acres through land acquisitions and conservation easements, preserving the natural and scenic areas of the town of Kent and beyond.

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