Access to The Appalachian Trail in Maine Expanded

The Trust for Public Land today announced the permanent protection of over 2,600 acres of land at Bald Mountain Pond in Maine’s North Woods. An iconic destination in New England, visitors to the property will now be able to enjoy expanded access to paddling, fishing, hiking, and camping while taking in sweeping views of the region from the waters of Bald Mountain Pond and the alpine ridgeline of Moxie Bald Mountain. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail bisects the property and the newly acquired lands will expand the protection zone around the trail to include 1,500 acres of old growth forest and nine miles of Bald Mountain Pond shoreline that were vulnerable to development. 

The State of Maine has identified Bald Mountain Pond as a “focus area of statewide ecological significance” noting the presence of arctic char, wild brook trout, Canada Lynx, and old growth forests.  The area is also a noted destination for recreation – Moxie Bald is on the “New England Fifty Finest” a listing of the most scenic hikes in New England and the pond is a recommended outing in the Quiet Water Canoe Guide to Maine. Generations of anglers have also cast a fly in one of the most scenic waters in Maine with its undeveloped shoreline and numerous small islands and coves.  The timber companies which previously owned the pond and surrounding forest historically allowed recreational access to the area, but that arrangement was more of a tradition than a guarantee. This acquisition ensures visitors will never encounter another locked gate as they access Bald Mountain Pond. 

“Protecting Bald Mountain Pond is a significant milestone in our efforts to preserve and protect the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine,” said Betsy Cook Maine State Director for The Trust for Public Land, “This project is a win-win-win for the region, by preserving an ecological jewel and a backcountry recreation destination, we can protect the biodiversity of Maine’s North Woods and also fuel Maine’s outdoor recreation economy. This would not have been possible without our partners and supporters and we are grateful to the coalition that came together to protect Bald Mountain Pond.” 

The Trust for Public Land has a long commitment to preserving the Appalachian Trail and has completed over 140 projects that protect 310,000 acres across the trail. According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, more than three million people are said to take a hike on part of the trail at least once each year. The Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust has described Bald Mountain Pond as the highest priority conservation project on the A.T. in Maine. 

Prior to the purchase announced today, the property was owned by Weyerhaeuser who recognized that it had high conservation value.  After extensive planning and negotiations, The Trust for Public Land and Weyerhaeuser designed a conservation outcome that respected the working woodlands economy while acquiring the ecologically and recreationally significant areas in phases.  More than a dozen partners contributed funds to permanently preserve this spectacular stretch of the Appalachian Trail and the shoreline of Bald Mountain Pond.  The property was purchased for $4,026,000 and will be permanently managed by the National Park Service via an expanded Appalachian Trail corridor, the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust around the undeveloped shoreline, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife at the existing boat launch. 

Funding for the project came from a mixture of government funds, including funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and State of Maine Water Access Program.  Private donations came from Elliotsville Foundation, Novatus Energy via the Bingham Wind mitigation fund, the National Park Foundation, National Park Trust, Poland Spring® ORIGIN, Betterment Fund, Maine Mountain Collaborative, the Summer Hill Foundation, and many smaller gifts.   

The following partners were integral in protecting this property: 

“Helping protect Bald Mountain Pond and the amazing scenery that this area offers hikers long the Appalachian Trail has been a thrilling opportunity for our family’s foundation,” said Lucas St. Clair President of Elliotsville Foundation and a member of The Trust for Public Land’s board of directors, “We are committed to protecting special places in Maine and this is very high on that list. We hope more people learn first-hand about the beauty that awaits them there.” 

“Poland Spring has deep-rooted history in Maine, and we feel a responsibility to help preserve what makes the state so special and beautiful,” said Yumiko Clevenger-Lee, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer of Nestlé Waters North America. “The Trust for Public Land shares our commitment to nature preservation, and its efforts ensure communities across the country have access to parks and other open spaces that they can all enjoy. We’re honored to work together on the conservation of Bald Mountain Pond right here in our home state of Maine.” 

“This acquisition highlights the power of partnership in preserving and protecting the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.  The National Park Service thanks all those involved for their commitment and support to secure this ecologically significant and iconic site for the enjoyment and benefit of all,” said Wendy Janssen, Superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. 

“The Bald Mountain Pond area will allow families and friends to continue enjoy or begin new traditions of hunting, fishing, and recreating in a serene location for generations to come,” said Judy Camuso, Commissioner of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “Protecting land that is significant for wildlife and fish habitat, including Canada Lynx and Maine’s wild brook trout, is essential for our conservation, wildlife management, and climate change goals.”   

“The protection of Bald Mountain Pond represents a milestone for Appalachian Trail conservation in Maine.  As an organization committed to preserving this landscape, the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust is honored to take on the active stewardship of this iconic property,” said David Kallin, President of the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust.  “Outside of the footpath area, the landscape around the A.T. is largely unprotected in Maine.  Now, with the completion of this conservation project, the shore of Bald Mountain Pond will remain undeveloped forever.  The areas of old growth and animal habitat on the slopes of Moxie Bald Mountain will remain wild and rugged in perpetuity.  The waters of the pond and surrounding streams will be cool and clear and will continue to support wild brook trout and Arctic char for generations to come.  The experience of the Appalachian Trail – remoteness, solitude, and revival in the last great wilderness in the eastern United States – is now permanently protected at Bald Mountain Pond.  We’d also like to acknowledge that the Appalachian Trail in Maine is located on lands in the traditional territory of the Wabanaki Confederacy.” 

“Supporting national parks has always been a team sport, and this is yet another great example of federal and private support protecting a beloved area for all people,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth. “The National Park Foundation is honored to be among the many key partners making this critical recreational access project a reality.” 

“We are delighted to have worked with so many outstanding partners to protect the magnificent lands and waters in Maine and the Appalachian Trail at Bald Mountain Pond. Especially during this time of physical distancing with the pandemic, our parks are a welcome and needed sanctuary that benefit our mental and physical wellbeing,” stated Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust. 

“We were very pleased to partner with The Trust for Public Land on the Bald Mountain Pond project,” says Luke Muzzy, land asset manager for Weyerhaeuser. “This project helps protect both wildlife habitat and recreational access to a special part of Maine, and with this sale we’re happy to help ensure future generations will continue to enjoy and benefit from this beautiful area.” 


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