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L.L. Bean third-gen donates island to conservation trust

A third-generation member of the family behind US outdoor clothing chain L.L. Bean has donated the island where his grandfather, the family business's founder, hunted for ducks to a conservation charity.
Lane's Island, a favourite hunting ground of Leon Leonwood Bean
© Maine Coast Heritage Trust

A third-generation member of the family behind US outdoor clothing chain L.L. Bean has donated the island where his grandfather, the family business's founder, hunted for ducks to a conservation charity.

The Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) announced this month that Leon Gorman, grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean, and his wife Lisa had gifted it Lane's Island, off the coast of Maine. The trust is now in the process of consulting with the local community about the creation of a long term management plan for the island.

Bean hunted on Lane's Island in the 1930s, and his descendents started acquiring blocks of land on it in 1968, buying the last chunk in 2010.

Bean's passion for hunting proved to be his fortune as he invented his best-selling product, the Maine Hunting Shoe, after returning from a trip with wet feet in 1912.

His idea – rubber work boots with leather uppers – became the cornerstone of his outdoor apparel business, which now generates revenues of more than $1 billion annually.

According to the MCHT, the 28-acre island is home to waterfowl, shorebirds and is a nesting site for bald eagles, and it intends to implement a conservation programme while opening it to the public.

Tim Glidden, president of the MCHT, said in a statement: "It is essential that we continue the important work of maintaining and expanding public access to the land.

"We are grateful to Leon and Lisa Gorman for their vision and generosity in making this gift."  

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