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December 10, 2018

Desert of Maine finds new owners

Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons
A tourist attraction in Freeport that has long called itself "the Desert of Maine," which went on the market for $725,000 in July, has been purchased by a Freeport couple. Terms of the sale for the tourist attraction were not disclosed.

The Freeport tourist attraction Desert of Maine has found new owners.

The Forecaster reported that Freeport residents Mela and Doug Heestand purchased the Desert of Maine and plans to revamp the attraction, including a marketing reboot to draw more out-of-town visitors, expanded family-friendly activities and restoration of a historic barn as a performance venue.

Mia Johnson of Northeast Campground Brokers represented sellers Ginger and Gary Currens in the deal. The property went on the market last July for $725,000. The 40-acre property includes the "desert," trails, a home, 48-site campground, gift shop and barn that is more than 225 years old. According to the facility's website, in 1797, the Tuttle family moved to the 300-acre farm that once covered the Desert of Maine, where they raised crops of potatoes and hay for several years. Failure to rotate crops thereafter, combined with massive land-clearing and overgrazing, resulted in severe soil erosion that exposed the hidden desert. What started as a small patch of silt on the Tuttle farm grew to 40 acres. In 1919, Henry Goldrup bought the property for $300 and opened it as a public tourist attraction six years later.

On Dec. 9, the Currens posted on Facebook, "As many know there are new owners of the property so this is our thanks and happy goodbyes and always safe travels we thank all of you again."

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