DIY Network

Blog Cabin

Mar 14

Preserving Land for Future Generations

Blog Cabin 2012 Land Donation

Big news, folks! DIY Network has donated a portion of the Blog Cabin 2012 property (30 wooded acres, to be exact) to the Medomak Valley Land Trust (MVLT) in Waldoboro, Maine.

The forested strip of land, previously owned for generations by the Robie family, stretches between Dutch Neck and Gross Neck Roads and abuts 18 acres that are protected with a conservation easement held by MVLT. Together, the properties protect close to 1,000 feet of frontage on Peters Pond, a 12-acre pond that is distinguished from others in the watershed because of its depth (60 feet), steep granite cliffs, high shoreline and completely undeveloped watershed.

“We have been working with members of the community to find a way to protect it since the Robie property first came on the market in 2007,” says Liz Petruska, MVLT’s executive director. “When we heard about Blog Cabin, we contacted DIY Network to discuss potential conservation options. Thanks to their generosity, this important property will be permanently protected.”

“The Robie Farm is the last of the original land grants on Dutch Neck that has not been sub-divided or developed over the centuries,” says Eric Stark, a Blog Cabin 2012 neighbor whose property is also conserved. “Its presence reminds us of what life used to look like in Maine. The relationship between the land, the people, the farms that sustained them and the waters they harvested for fish, clams, oysters and lobsters is still visible on this property. It is very different than the relationship we have to these things today.”

To learn more about the Medomak Valley Land Trust, please visit the trust web site at medomakvalley.org.

Note to fans: The Blog Cabin 2012 Giveaway, which includes a lovingly renovated, circa-1884 cape cod and 21 acres of land, launches in August. To learn more, visit our Coming Attractions page.

  • Posted at 9:28 am on March 3, 2012
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578 Comments

  1. Hi all! I have been keeping up with the BLOG, just not commenting. :) . question – I don’t know Maine laws. If the winner will have access to the donated parcel, does that mean it is also open to the public?

    CarlaB on March 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm
    • Peter's/Gross pond is public water and has public access from Gross Neck Rd to the West. The plot to the south, encompassing most of the lake, and the adjoining property are already in the conservancy and accessible to the public. Unless the winner were to have built a huge fence there was really no way of ensuring privacy and the 'wet feet' rule would have allowed fisherpersons to walk around the lake edge so long as they kept their toes in the water. That the lake is very deep and the sides sheer (it was a quarry once) may have made that a tad difficult though. ;)

      Clive on March 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm
    • We own the 18 acres south of the Robie plot. It is protected from development through an easement granted to MVLT but it is NOT open to the public. Aside from our land, and now the former Robie 30 acres, the rest of the pond is not protected so far as I know. I am not aware of the details of the DIY/MVLT agreement as yet so I can"t answer as to accessibility. MVLT has many different kinds of agreements with landowners. By the way, Peter's Pond was never a quarry; it is what some in New England call a "kettle pond" resulting from the glaciers of the last ice age.

      Another neighbor on March 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm
    • Thanks for the information and correction. I was repeating what another local had said about the pond and stand corrected. We have many 'kettles' around where we live in WI, in fact the area is know as the Kettle Moraine for this reason. Would I be correct in thinking that you can still enter the conserved section of your land for walks even if it's not open to the public? Thanks for all the additional information and I really hope the MVLT thrives.

      Clive on March 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm
    • Hi Clive- yes you are correct> I have no objection at all to hikers, snowshoers, etc., not least because I think their presense discourages the, shall we say, less desirable elements. For instance, last summer someone left an illegal campfire unattended which was burning underground when I found it. It was a long hike for the fire department (great guys, by the way).

      Another neighbor on March 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm
    • Hi! Since you live close by…what do you think of the finished Blog Home? Any more information you can share? What about the estimated value at $700k?

      SuziQ523 on August 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm
  2. Greetings Fellow Bloggers and DIY Gang
    I am wondering the same as Mike..
    How does the downsize of the property's acreage affect the usage of the remaining acreage? Would it still be zoned as farmland??? How does the downsize affect the future winner's choices for usage? –DIY Answers please :)
    The communities in the area should be concerned as to the future use of the property. I have personally experienced a beautiful, serene lot be destroyed by the installment of an ATV Course. Even my Uncle who was a Champion Dirt Biker agreed that there is a place for everything and our area was not that place. :)
    DIY – Would you please provide more information as to the possible uses for the property as it would affect the way we may vote for certain items in the future. Thank You in advance ! :) Truly Lilly

    Lilly on March 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm
    • Lilly, you give a very good example of a possible development scenario, had DIY not had foresight to protect that acreage. As Anne Elise wrote, who knows what the eventual winner would have done with the property? Not everyone would have farming on their minds.
      I think there are some exciting techniques for mini farms that use small land parcels wisely and efficiently; a lot can be done with 21 acres.

      LLColeman on March 15, 2012 at 3:52 am
    • Greetings LLColeman!
      It WOULD be exciting to explore some of the techniques for a mini farm! Sure hope I get the chance!! :)
      I believe a mini farm is called a "Gentleman's Farm". Of course IF I should win I would have to change it to a "Lady's Farm" :) Might even paint a little 'ol sign on the barn — "Lady Lilly's Farm" hee hee! Ahh! Let the wishing begin! Have a great day! Truly Lilly

      Lilly on March 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm
  3. Clive, thank you for answering my question. Have a great great day!

    CarlaB on March 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm
    • Turns out I was wrong on some points but "Another Neighbor' very kindly and politely corrected me and added a lot of great information. I suggest you check out his blog for all the real info. It's great to have this local input and helps me to get a much clearer picture of the area and the fantastic community there. :)

      Clive on March 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm
  4. On behalf of the Medomak Valley Land Trust I want to first thank DIY for their donation and then all of you for your interest and comments, including your questions and concerns. The 30 acre parcel was gifted outright to the land trust, meaning we own the land and will manage it, including for public access. Our philosophy is to create low-impact recreational opportunities that respect the character of the property and traditional uses and protect all of its conservation values. We also feel strongly that we protect land primarily for the local community and stakeholders, and it is not our goal to attract thousands of users to this or any other preserve. This is our first experience with national publicity. It's exciting! I think though, that the use will be primarily by local residents and shouldn't be a concern for the new Blog Cabin owner. In response to several questions – The gift of this land does not affect the new owner's ability to farm and it shouldn't affect other residential uses. And, the new Blog Cabin owner does retain the right to access the pond. There is also room for additional conservation if the new owner is interested. A conservation easement could be placed on the house side of the road. In this case, the property would remain in their ownership but they might be able to take advantage of local and federal tax incentives while still holding onto the property. I will review posts here periodically to answer any other questions about the land trust and this property. You can also reach me by email at mvlt@midcoast.com if you have more detailed questions. Thank you all for your contributions to this great project! Liz Petruska, Executive Director

    MVLT on March 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm
    • Many thanks. That's a big help and clears up a lot of confusion, much of it mine! :$

      Good luck with your continuing efforts to conserve and improve your natural heritage and environment.

      Clive on March 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm
    • Hey Liz! Thanks for weighing in! Thank you and MVLT for all the conservation efforts you've helped with over here on Gross Neck Road as well.Bloggers should know…it's all good.
      PS: E-mail me some info on your bread for the B&B.Thanks!

      Lisa Lane on March 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm
    • Greetings Liz! Very happy to hear from you! I am so glad you posted your philosophy — VERY HAPPY about the LOW IMPACT recreational values that will be applied as well as the Blog Owner's ability to farm and have access to the pond :) Yippee! Have a GREAT day! Lilly

      Lilly on March 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm
    • Liz Thank You for clearing up so many questions & offering your email address for more detailed ones.
      Congratulations on receiving this donation from DiY! I see this as a benefit for the winner, community, and planet. Keep doing your good deeds :)

      Mel on March 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm
    • I am very excited about this project, but I do have one question about the public access element. Will the public have vehicles parked at/ near the barn or the house to access the preserve? Are there plans to provide a parking area for the preserve that has some distance from the house ? I realize you stated there will not likely be hoardes of visitors to the preserve, but it is a concern.

      LLColeman on March 15, 2012 at 3:58 am
    • This may help answer your concerns. It's a response to something I wrote and not directly addressing the access issue but I believe it covers things fairly comprehensively. It comes from 'Another Neighbor' who owns the adjacent plat to the south of the BC.

      "We own the 18 acres south of the Robie plot. It is protected from development through an easement granted to MVLT but it is NOT open to the public. Aside from our land, and now the former Robie 30 acres, the rest of the pond is not protected so far as I know. I am not aware of the details of the DIY/MVLT agreement as yet so I can’t answer as to accessibility. MVLT has many different kinds of agreements with landowners."

      The Maine Dept. of Wildlife lists the lake as public fishing with access from Gross Neck Rd so no need for fishers to come through the BC land either. :)

      Clive on March 15, 2012 at 9:32 am
    • thanks for the clarify.

      minitoni on April 7, 2012 at 12:02 am
    • Thank you for the clarification. I am still a little confused though regarding your statement that the new owner can still farm, are you referring to farming the remaining 21 acres still with the property or does the new owner have some rights to farm that 30 acres donated to MVLT?

      Windsmurf on March 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm
    • Congratulations to MVLT for the acquisition of the 30 acre parcel of land! I think it was a wonderful idea to donate it for preservation!.
      My only concern is parking for people who would like to access Peter's pond.Can you put in a drive way that will turn off the road in to a small parking lot (dirt lot would be ok) nestled amongst the trees so it can't be seen from the road or from the BC?
      Thank You for making yourself accessable for any questions that should arise. :)
      Good luck with the property when it comes time to enter the sweepstakes, you might find the property crawling with curosity seekers.But I am sure you probably have been alerted to that possibility already.:) Thank you for all that you do so everyone can enjoy nature at it's best!…………….Sincerely, Windee :)

      Windeeone on March 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm
    • Excellent question Windee!xDB)<3 Kitty

      DwnSoDwnEaster on March 16, 2012 at 11:03 am
    • There is parking for Peter's Pond in the woods off Gross Neck Road. Most folks who know about Peter's Pond will park on Gross Neck anyway because it's just closer to walk to the pond and there is a well worn path through the woods.

      Lisa Lane on March 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm
    • I'm beginning to think I should check out Peter's Pond again. I went there once for a swim over 30 years ago when I was building my little cabin (now my year round home) here on the Neck. I accessed it from Gross Neck Rd but don't remember now what drive led to it. I'll have to get with you, Lisa, and check it out. I think where the pond borders the "former" BC property is about a half mile behind the barn.

      Camac on March 17, 2012 at 2:24 am
    • I quit…Must have a virus. When trying to type, other screens pop up and loose place.
      thanks for letting me vent and explain.
      Gonna make like the wind and go…….
      Windee :) xD

      Windeeone on March 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm
    • Replying to self. Working on problem…..thanks.

      Windeeone on March 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm
    • I would probably be more interested in leaving it to my children as opposed to a public entitity.

      Nebraska on March 17, 2012 at 10:18 am
    • i am happy to hear some one is going to keep this as it is good choice for this.<3

      teebutt on March 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm
    • What a great property ! I ca'nt wait until I can enter.

      willgarden4food on March 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm
    • THANKS FOR YOUR KINDNESS;)

      LISAFOS on August 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm
  5. Way to go, DIY. This seems a good and right thing to do. And the whole community can benefit, thankfully. MLVT will be good stewards.

    basincrew on March 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm
  6. Sally writes:
    "Why would the winner be expecting to win more than what is eventually offered when DIY publish the BC 2012 sweepstakes rules?"
    While I think she means "published", I have an answer:
    Why? because as the narrator so breathlessly intones in the initial video:
    "…situated on 51 acres of rolling waterfront farmland…" and later:
    "…when it's all said and done you could be calling these 51 acres located between Bar Harbor and Portland home…"
    Don't get me wrong, I am all for donating land to public trusts. I wish I had the wherewithal to do so. I just think as, Windsmurf said, it seems a bit dishonest. If DIY wanted to donate the land, they should have done it at the beginning of the process.

    Lea on March 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm
    • I meant to write 'publish' not whatever you wish it to be. I know what I'm writing thank you!

      DIY has yet to publish the rules for this year so, until they do, I will use 'publish' and not the past tense, "published".

      Every year there are differences between what things start out as and what is offered eventually in the sweepstakes. Last year the house size that was given was 3900 sq ft and this remained on the site even after the rules were posted when it was revealed th the house was over 1000sq ft smaller. I didn't see everyone complaining about being 'cheated' out of the extra space.

      Sally on March 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm
    • Sometimes the process of donating takes some time.

      basincrew on March 14, 2012 at 8:22 pm
    • I tend to agree Lea.

      Nebraska on March 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm
    • It is a bit late on this topic, but if you don't like the way this was handled express your feelings by choosing to not enter the sweepstakes.

      YankeeNuke on June 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm
    • I was just glancing over some of the old blogs and couldn't believe the greed, I agree with you! THIS is a sweepstake. If people don't like what DIY does, don't enter. I for one, would be happy to win just the side with the house.

      11241224 on July 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm
    • well, of course it is too late because they have already done the "good deed". Good deed my b. But we want diy to know that we are not stupid like they think we are.

      Lienr on July 31, 2012 at 9:41 pm
    • Love your response YandeeNuke :) I agree that if anyone feels an upgraded 1884 home w 16 acres – on the water, with Jacob's incredible barn – on 5 acres and all the loving craftsmanship of DIY's Crashers, input from a global community for added fabulous touches isn't enough, they have the perfect choice of expression > don't enter lol. If I'm the lucky winner I have full intentions of leaving the entire property to the township eventually. Seems only fair: envisioned by a community; created & renovated by a community of teams; guided by a community with input > why not allow it to continue to be community property? Creating a non-profit (with neighbors being able to be on the board for say in what they'd like and/or won't tolerate) would be the ultimate gift for everyone. Being a custodial co-ordinator would still be awesome! That way too, it could become a true legacy for DIY & HGTV i.e. a barn workshop for skills exchange classes; passive solar greenhouses for school children etc. Liz: would it be advantageous to be able to control the environment and flow of visitors, for example, with a lit cross country ski path that could double as a safe walk/running path in the summers?

      Sylvia on September 11, 2012 at 8:43 am
    • Did you see on the Mega Den special Tv show They said enter to win the house on 50+ Acres.

      GidgetandLucy on October 1, 2012 at 8:53 pm
  7. I applaud you DIY (clapping)!! I'm glad to see business goes beyond dollars but in this case the protection of the environment. Look at it this way. The community will probably be more accepting of the new owner now that everybody has what they want. It's a win/win !!

    lucyourdog on March 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm
    • Hi there, this is my first time over here. I say, with you, it's a great idea to donate that portion to the land trust so that it stays pristine for the future generations. Love what I've seen here so far, HGTV! It will be so much fun to follow this project and see what HGTV comes up with. Now that Midway's Dream Home is spoken for, I'll need a new home to love.

      beehivestate on March 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm
    • Hi Bee, DIY does a great job with the Blog Cabins. Last years home in Mathews County, Virginia was phenomenal. Of course, I think this years will be even better maybe because I'm biased since the location is in Maine! Stick around and vote it will only get better!!

      lucyourdog on March 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm
  8. The Blog Cabin is about how to build a country retreat, that’s true but it IS a sweepstakes/prize. If it were not, it would just be another remodeling show.
    I don’t think anyone is “against” me. If anyone reads what I and Windsmurf and Mike wrote "thoughtfully", you would see that we are not some greedy land rapers who think all land should be gobbled up and developed. If I won the BC, I would certainly not cut all the trees down or -Heaven forbid- put a dirt bike path on that parcel of land. I just think that the timing is poor, and I would like to see the winner have the choice of what to do with the entire property, that's all.

    Lea on March 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm
    • Again, I agree with you. If I were to win, I would live there full time and would have no interest at all in developing the wooded land on the barn side of the road (or the house side either) and might well have come to some conservancy agreement, though probably not an outright gift, I would have tried to do something that would have benefitted me tax-wise as well as beneffited the State and local area. I just believe that if DIY was working toward this gifting idea, that should have been stated early on and the 51 acres should not have been stressed so much. What they did with the 30 acres is commendable, how they did it leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth though. The advertising should have been along the lines of "51 acres, 30 of which is currently in the process of being gifted to a Maine Conservancy organization". I don't really understand the negative reactions to stating a different point of view.

      Windsmurf on March 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm
    • I'm hearing you…and you make sense too. My feelings are very mixed now that I understand the nature of DIY's outright gift of 30 acres they had already said was part of their prize—but I can't help but also be elated for MVLT, since I am such a big supporter of theirs. Since I'm stuck, I think about that prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, "God Grant me the serenity to accept those things, I cannot change…" <3Kitty

      DwnSoDwnEaster on March 16, 2012 at 11:13 am
    • yes, diy announced it as part of the prize and donate part of it before the actual drawing. that's bad. something's not right.

      Lienr on July 31, 2012 at 9:07 pm
    • Yes, but our hands are tied, so to speak. we can do nothing but go forward and try to find the good in today and tomorrow, for we cannot change yesterday. If you decide, still, you want to enter the sweepstakes 21 acres and a lovely home and barn are not shabby–good luck to you!:D Kitty

      DwnSoDwnEaster on August 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm
    • Yep, I'm 100% in agreement w/you. While I would like to live there full time, my Florida born husband might only be able to manage summers! I absolutely have no interest in harvesting timber, cutting trees for any other reason or otherwise spoiling the beauty of that tract, but as you say, they could have/should have advertised it differently. I might, however, be interested in being a hay farmer, and cutting the size of the holding might affect the possibility of doing that.
      I don't think anyone has been outright hostile, but describing us as negative or having a negative outlook is not understandable as we are only expressing a different point of view.
      I guess we are the only ones w/this opinion, or maybe the only ones nervy enough to go against the grain!

      Lea on March 16, 2012 at 11:58 am
    • I agree that DIY could have done nothing and left the decision on future use of all the land to the eventual owner (winner if they can afford to pay tax and keep it). That's a valid comment. However, I believe an equally valid argument is that DIY, as the owner of the land, can dispose of it as they see fit until they relinquish ownership. There was no deception by DIY over this issue. Until the legal papers were signed they couldn't disclose the gift. DIY never initiated the gift idea, MVLT did. Once something is posted to the internet it remains there forever, it can't be deleted, just amended clearly. This DIY has done if you read the last two lines of Mary's intro. As far as the tax issue goes others have answered that clearly. The much bigger tax advantage to the sweeps winner is for them never to win the extra 30 acres, however, they can use it for light recreation whenever they wish. They can still get a conservation easement on the remaining 21 acres (the much more valuable area) for future tax breaks and retain ownership and control. I believe firmly this was the much better way to go. Well done DIY!

      Sally on March 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm
    • it is not right. when diy announced the entirety of the property as prize, they should not cut the prize anymore. they could have mvlt speak with the new owner into "donating" make him/her feel like she/he is greedy/guilty if she/he doesn't donate, etc but on its part, diy shouldn't have "reduced" the prize after they had said that it was all the prize. Something smells.

      And if the new owner didn't donate it him/herself then it is not tax deductible, get it? so he lost 30 acres and didnt' get the tax credit because it was donated before he/she owned it. really… tsk tsk tsk. shabby, diy. i wish you didn't think people are so "not smart enough" to see it.

      Lienr on July 31, 2012 at 9:11 pm
    • Perhaps, on 2nd thought, I was mistaken and you may not wish to enter, due to your anger with DIY. That's OK, your choice–I was just trying to wish you well either way. :) Be happy. Kitty

      DwnSoDwnEaster on August 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm
  9. 20 acers is a lot of land, we have two 20 acer lots up in the mounaints, and it is a lot to take care of and maintain. I think this was a good move, but tend to agree with Lea, it should of been advertised as 20+ to start with not 51 acers. But maybe they didn't have all the details worked out yet. Thanks for all the info from everyonne.

    vicki_in_Utah on March 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm
    • I just can't see why it should have been advertised as 21 acres from the beginning. The deal was only done recently and, from what the representative of MVLT says, it was they who approached DIY about the ceeding of the land and not the other way around. This implies that DIY, originally, when the advert was made, did not consider this as an option. However, kudos to DIY, they seized the initiative and made (IMO) a very good decision. The winner still gets access to all the land but MVLT manages that portion and there will be potential tax advatages for the winner too in the future. What is there to complain about?

      Sally on March 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm
    • I wasn't complaining, I was just making a comment.

      vicki_in_Utah on March 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm
    • I am not complaining, I am just expressing my opinion. I am sure the flow of events was as you lay out above. But it was already advertised as 51 acres so DIY should have "advertised" more of what they planned to do that would change that original acreage. This would have been a fantastic item for DIY to have let us vote on. I'd guess the vote would have been either in favor of the outright gifting or in favor of another conservancy option that provided more benefit to the final winner since the overwhelming number of blog entries indicate they think conservation of this land is a good idea. As I said above, the way it was done leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I am not sure what "access" to the land entails. The winner will not get any advantage related to the 30 acres already gifted, only if they place some of the 21 remaining acres into a type of conservancy that does have tax benefits, which in my opinion, is what should have been done with the 30 acres as well. I understand your opinion and respect your right to have your own opinion, I just happen to hold a slightly different opinion.

      Windsmurf on March 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm
    • The winner now will not have to pay income tax on the value of the 30 acres as it will no longer be included in the final total for the ARV. That amount saved will be considerably greater than the offset in property taxes that could have been achieved by the winner gifting the 30 acres. Therefore the way it has been done is more beneficial financially to the winner and they can still use the land for recreation without the hassle of protecting it and paying tax on it.

      SusanD on March 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm
    • ~ 8/19/12 … If that's the case now that the value of the home is $700k…..really? If they didn't ditch the other acreage what would the "so called value of the home be?" TAXES–help. DIY, as great as they are 700k is nothing to them, couldn't they pay the taxes with a $$ win also?

      SuziQ523 on August 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm
    • didn't have the info huh? yeah, right. and you know what? GRANTED diy didn't know all the info yet, for it's part it still should've waited til after the winner was drawn and informed him and let him donate as DIY wishes. all they have to say is you won all this for nothing and here you are being greedy. now it's the new owner who is made to feel bad just so whoever is working this can get the "gift" of 30 whole acres, more expansive than what the new owner would own now.

      Lienr on July 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm
  10. What an absolutely marvelous thing to do! To me it sounds like a win-win situation. If I were lucky enough to win this property, and this had not already been done I would definitely do it anyway. Living in central Virginia half way between Richmond and Newport News, New Kent County is the last rural county on th I-64 corridor. Richmond is trying to move east and Williamsburg and Newport News are trying to move west, but the citizens of the county are trying to keep it rural. The county has grown in the 20 years I have been here and luckily they are very discerning as to development.

    Dghawk4 on March 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm

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