TPL Completes Two Millinocket Conservation Deals
The Trust for Public Land announced today they have completed two deals to conserve more than 7,000 acres in the Millinocket region of Maine, primarily for recreation and sustainable timber harvesting.
The conservation of the land concludes more than three years of work by the Maine office of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, to facilitate the deals with the landowner, Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., which services the acquisition and stewardship roles for Burt's Bees founder Roxanne Quimby.
"TPL is proud to have worked with the Town of Millinocket, snowmobile and ATV enthusiasts, the Bureau of Parks & Lands, and Ms. Quimby to protect these lands, and keep them working and available to the public," said Wolfe Tone, Maine's TPL state director. "The parties involved all shared a common vision that enabled us to stay focused on completing these terrific acquisitions."
The deals conserve two properties. TPL purchased the 5,061-acre Sandy Stream property, which has been conveyed to the Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands (BPL) to be managed for public access and sustainable timber production. TPL also facilitated BPL's purchase of a conservation easement on the 2,849-acre Mud Brook property, also known as Hunt Farm, north of Millinocket. This easement conveys to BPL development rights and a snowmobile trail corridor. Ms. Quimby will retain ownership with full timber harvesting and other rights.
"I am pleased that The Trust for Public Land, the State, and Roxanne Quimby have finalized the deal on the first two land parcels and look forward to completing the project with the third parcel in the near future," said Gene Conlogue, Millinocket Town Manager. "This project has taken almost three and a half years to complete, but the effort has been well worth the outcome."
"This transaction points to the common interests we all share in preserving the wilderness resource, in economic development, and encouraging a variety of outdoor uses. I look forward to the next stages of this critically important discussion," said Roxanne Quimby.
These lands are located nearly 15 miles from Millinocket, Maine and just east of iconic Baxter State Park. Much of the two properties will remain working forest, and their protection will add critical links in a motorized trail network, the Interconnected Trail System, stretching from Millinocket in north central Maine to Aroostook County in the far north. The combination of maintaining working forests and enhancing the motorized recreation experience is important to the local economies in the region. The properties' proximity to other conservation lands will also help preserve scenic views at Mount Katahdin and protect ecological resources, including extensive wetlands and riparian areas.
"This deal helps secure an important link in our Interconnected Trail System as well as offering riders access to a spectacular area of the state. We are grateful to all the partners for making the Millinocket conservation happen with public access in mind," said Bob Meyers, Executive Director, Maine Snowmobile Association.
The state of Maine recommended the Millinocket projects as a top U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program (FLP) priority in 2009 for funding consideration by Congress. With the support of U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Congressman Michael Michaud the project received $1.5 million in FLP funds for these parcels. In addition to the federal funds, TPL secured $400,000 from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and $760,000 from the Land for Maine's Future program.
"I could not be more pleased that the deals to conserve over 7,000 acres of land in the Millinocket region were finalized today, due partly to funding that I helped secure with Maine's Congressional Delegation," said Senator Snowe. "Indeed, this is an example of how well the Forest Legacy Program works in conserving our nation's vital land by maintaining traditional timber industries, retaining public access for recreational activities, and building the economic vitality of our great state."
"I am delighted that I was able to help secure funding through the Forest Legacy Program that will help protect these key parcels of land," said Senator Collins. "Conservation of this land will ensure that its recreational opportunities, wildlife habitats, and scenic beauty are preserved for future generations. This parcel also conserves working forests, which is important to our timber and wood products industries. This project reflects Maine's steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship and is a testament to the importance of partnership and community-driven efforts."
"Over the last decade, there have been impressive land conservation accomplishments in Maine," said Rep. Michaud. "These accomplishments are a testament to the diversity of forest interests that have come together to pursue a common vision of maintaining our outdoor heritage."
"This deal exemplifies the State of Maine's commitment to securing snowmobile access for the Katahdin Region between Millinocket and the Bowlin-Matagamon area," said Paul Sannicandro, Secretary, Northern Timber Cruisers ATV and Snowmobile Club. "The Northern Timber Cruisers looks forward to continuing it's partnership with the numerous other Katahdin Area Snowmobile Clubs, TPL, DOC and local landowners to secure snowmobile and recreational access, in general, well into the future."
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. TPL has conserved nearly 3 million acres of land, and in Maine, TPL has protected more than 122,000 acres with projects ranging from city parks and pathways to coastal habitat and working farms and forests. TPL depends on the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.
The Maine Snowmobile Association represents 28,000 individuals and 2,000 businesses who belong to 291 snowmobile clubs statewide. These clubs maintain and groom 14,000 miles of snowmobile trails in the State of Maine.
Elliotsville Plantation, Inc. (EPI), was established as a nonprofit foundation in 2002 for the acquisition and conservation of land and the preservation of open space for the benefit of the public and the conduct of educational and stewardship programs. The foundation now manages over 100,000 acres of wild forest and coastal lands in northern, north-central, and mid-coast Maine. keepmebeautiful.org