363,000 acres now protected in North Maine Forest
One of the largest conservation easements in the history of the United States was announced this week. A deal was negotiated between the Nature Conservancy, Plum Creek, and the Forest Society of Maine to conserve 363,000 acres of forestland in the moosehead region of Maine. This would be one of the most extensive protected functional forests in the country. According to the parties involved, it was the last piece of the puzzle to complete an impressive 2 million acre swatch of protected land in Greenville Maine.
An important part of the easement was that it plans to continue to make the forests and lakes accessible to the public by providing recreational areas for things like hunting, fishing, boating, wildlife watching and snowmobiling. All of these activities will be done in designated areas and must fall within the guidelines of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. The hope is that this could help the local economy in the town of Greenville and kick-start a recovery from the recession.
This new conservation deal will protect dozens of rare and endangered plant species, wildlife and fish that dwell in Maine’s Forests as well as 200 miles of lakefront and 69 lakes and ponds.
“Today’s celebration is truly about how conservation, business, government and community interests can work together to achieve remarkable things,” said Alan Hutchinson, executive director of the Forest Society of Maine.
A perfect mix of economic, ecological and recreational culture has been agreed upon for the State of Maine and its rich biodiverse forestland. The 2 million acre range of land spans all the way from St. John Valley to Baxter State Park and Moosehead Lake, which is roughly the size of Yellowstone National Park.
This merger of ideas will protect untouched and pristine headwater streams and untainted forest regions in North Maine advocating support for the local economy all while wildlife remain undisturbed like Moose, Marten, Fisher, and Canada Lynx. The near 400,000 acres will be managed and protected as an ecological reserve. Other accomplishments within the Moose River Project aside from the easement are:
The Moose River Reserve- This particular section runs 15,000 acres that will be managed by The Nature Conservancy. It holds one of the biggest most diverse and untouched peat lands in the Eastern U.S. In addition, the infamous Moose River Bow Trip is known as one of the best scenic and remote paddling circuits in the state.
The Roach Ponds Parcel- This land is 29,000 acres of picturesque forest containing a vital headwater stream to Kennebec, Penobscot and Pleasant Rivers. It inhabits 10 remote ponds and rivers and is interconnected with a 100-mile stretch along the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Mountain Club will purchase this parcel to protect special ecological areas and provide access for year-round recreation and sustainable forestry.
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