Preserving and Enhancing the Natural Resources and Visitor Experience of Fort Williams Park


Dear Friend of the Park,

We have received several notes from our supporters during this Appeal season expressing disapproval for a “pay and display” parking fee system in Fort Williams Park being considered by the Town of Cape Elizabeth. Some people have said they will not donate to the Friends of Fort Williams Park if the Town moves forward with these fees. This seems to imply either that the Friends are part of the parking fee proposal and decision, and/or that the Friends will financially benefit from such fees if collected by the Town. To be clear, neither is true.

The Friends of Fort Williams Park is not governed by the Town of Cape Elizabeth, nor do we have any kind of governing authority, decision-making rights, or advisory role in operating, managing or financing Fort Williams Park. That power is limited to the Town of Cape Elizabeth through its elected Town Council members. Therefore, we are not involved in any way with the proposal to implement parking fees at the Park and would not benefit financially from such fees should they be approved.

Given the misunderstanding, I’d like to clarify our role in the management and financing of Fort Williams Park. As an independent nonprofit organization, the Friends of Fort Williams Park works to preserve and enhance the natural resources and visitor experience of Fort Williams Park by providing planning and stewardship for projects that support the Park’s ecology, accessibility, and open space. Since 2010, we have accomplished these objectives in the Park through our Ecology Project (formerly called the Arboretum Project).

Our business operations and the work of the Ecology Project are paid for by private donations from supporters like you, with grants from charitable foundations, and proceeds from events. The value of each dollar donated to the Friends is greatly increased by the hundreds of volunteer hours put in each year by our board and committee members, and by hundreds of people from throughout Greater Portland who make up the volunteer corps we manage in the Park. This value is further enhanced by thousands of dollars in in-kind donations of services, labor and materials, including from the Town. While the Friends of Fort Williams Park enjoys a collaborative, mutually supportive relationship with the Town, we reiterate that the Cape Elizabeth Town budget does not fund the Friends of Fort Williams Park and the Friends is not part of the Town’s decision making process.

With all this in mind, we are very grateful for your past support for the work that the Town allows us to do within Fort Williams Park, and we hope that you will continue to consider the Friends of Fort Williams Park an organization worthy of your support.

Thank you for your consideration, and happy holidays!

James McCain
Executive Director



Our success depends on your generous support. BE A FRIEND OF THE PARK by donating at fortwilliams.org/donate, or by volunteering at fortwilliams.org/volunteer.


View from one of many entry points into new trail system (click pic for gallery)

View from one of many entry points into new trail system (click pic for gallery)


$32,883 Raised for the Cliff Walk Landscape

Riding an incoming wave of support just before our September 30 deadline, we sailed past our goal for the Cliff Walk Landscape Matching Challenge. Your donations of $17,883 – combined with $15,000 in challenge gifts from the Jeffrey Armstrong Memorial Fund and two anonymous donors – brought in $32,883 in one month! It is wonderful to have so much of the funding for the coming year’s lead project already in place.  A hearty thank-you to everyone who participated!

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