Cold Stream Protected

The Trust for Public Land and Trout Unlimited today announced the purchase of the Cold Stream forest, a 8,159-acre property near the The Forks which will provide public access and protect habitat for deer and wild brook trout, including more than 3,000 acres of deer wintering area and seven wild brook trout ponds. 

The two organizations paid $7.34 million to buy the land from Weyerhauser, and transferred it to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF), Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL). It will become part of the state’s Public Reserve Lands system. 

“For generations the economy and culture of northern Maine has been tied to the land,” said Wolfe Tone, Maine Director of The Trust for Public Land. “Our mission is to protect land for people and this purchase will make sure future generations can enjoy the rich experiences this property has to offer. It is a great example of what can be achieved when sportsmen and sportswomen, business owners, conservationists, and state and federal agencies come together.” 

Maine fishermen have long known about the importance of Cold Stream’s trout. More than a decade ago, Trout Unlimited (TU) and the state identified the property as a priority. It protects the trout fishery in the Kennebec and Dead Rivers, seven undeveloped ponds which make up the headwaters of Cold Stream, along with 5 miles of Cold Stream itself. The trout fishery is uniquely healthy, functioning much as it did before European settlement. 

”I heard about the trout resources in Cold Stream long before I ever fished there,” said Jeff Reardon, Maine Brook Trout Project Director for Trout Unlimited. “Cold Stream is one of the most pristine watersheds for brook trout in the nation, and whether you prefer fishing tiny brooks, undeveloped ponds, or the brawling Kennebec River, this purchase protects the habitat that supplies those fish.” 

“Our team in Maine has been proud to manage this land for many years and we always recognized and worked hard to protect the very special habitats and resources in the area,” said Luke Muzzy, Senior Land Manager for Weyerhaeuser. “With this sale, we are pleased that these lands and waterways will be conserved forever to benefit wildlife habitat and provide recreational access.”

The $7.34 million came from the US Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program (FLP) and the Land for Maine’s Future Program (LMF). The federal program, which is funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, provided $5.5 million with the strong support of Maine’s congressional delegation. LMF provided an additional $1.5 million toward the $7.34 M project. 

“Our environment is an integral part of both our state’s identity and its economy, which is why we all have a responsibility to work together to preserve our natural resources for the benefit of generations to come,” said Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, in a joint statement. “In protecting the Cold Stream Forest, we are taking another step forward in building on the long and proud traditions of conservation, public access to recreation, and working forests in our state that support jobs. We applaud The Trust for Public Land for their work in preserving this beautiful and vibrant area, and we pledge to continue to support federal initiatives, like the Forest Legacy Program, that help make these projects possible.” 

Cold Stream is the first completed project to be supported by LMF under new guidelines that place increased emphasis on conserving northern Maine Deer Wintering Areas.

“LMF has always been important to sportsman, but we have worked hard to expand the LMF Program to place more emphasis on properties important to carrying on Maine’s sporting traditions, including protecting the northern Maine deer herd,” said David Trahan, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. “This is a landmark day for conserving land for everyday Mainers.” 

“Cold Stream is a special place,” said Joe Kruse, owner of Lake Parlin Lodge and Cabins. “Guests from Lake Parlin Lodge have been heading over Parlin Mountain to cast flies for trout, track deer, and call moose for over a hundred years. Businesses like mine benefit directly from traditional public access to the ponds, streams and trails around Cold Stream”.