The Trust for Public Land and Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust protect more than 10,000 acres next to Appalachian Trail in Maine
The Trust for Public Land today announced the protection of more than 10,000 acres of land along the Appalachian Trail in the mountains of Western Maine through the acquisition of conservation easements on two properties. For generations, the forests, streams and ridgelines of the Western Maine Mountains have been a favorite destination for hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, and hunting. Now, the land will be forever open to the public for these uses, which will also help to support Western Maine’s growing outdoor recreation economy. Large portions of the land will continue to be managed as a working forest to support Maine’s timber economy while also providing clean water and wildlife habitat, including the Northeast’s most imperiled songbird, the Bicknell’s Thrush.
“When you’re hiking in these mountains, it’s easy to think that the views and remote experiences we have will always be there for us,” said Betsy Cook, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land, “but the reality is that much of land is still vulnerable to drastic change or lack of public access.”
The majority of funding for the acquisition of the conservation easements came through the U.S. Navy and the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program. The two properties are adjacent to a Navy remote wilderness training facility. Protection of these tracts prevents incompatible development that could negatively affect the military’s training goals and overall readiness. The REPI program is geared to ensuring dual military and conservation successes in communities surrounding installations. The 9,580- acre Redington Forest conservation easement will be co-held by the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust and the U.S. Navy. The 1,155-acre Lone Mountain conservation easement will be held by the U.S. Navy.
“This project was an ideal REPI Program candidate as it allowed the Navy to maintain a realistic training environment while also conserving land which supports the public’s continued enjoyment of the wilderness experience,” said Commander, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Capt. David Hunt. “We will all benefit from its successful conclusion now and in the future.”
Though almost the entire Appalachian Trail footpath is protected, much of the land immediately adjacent to the Appalachian Trail is still very vulnerable to development. Protection of these two properties, known as Lone Mountain and Redington Forest, help to protect a hiker’s experience along the Appalachian Trail, through some of Maine’s highest peaks.
Protection of this land adds significantly to an assemblage of protected land along Appalachian Trail in Western Maine. The Trust for Public Land helped to protect the neighboring Crocker Mountain (12,046 acres) in 2013, nearby Orbeton Stream (5,774 acres) in 2014, and will continue to build upon years of work to expand the conservation corridor of the Appalachian Trail, from Maine to Georgia. Protection of Redington Forest and Lone Mountain also knits together about 60,000 acres of protected land in an ecological corridor that is critically important for wildlife movement.
“Our state’s pristine environment is one of its biggest assets, and it is important that we work together to protect this priceless natural resource,” said Senators Susan Collins and Angus King in a joint statement. “This conservation of more than 10,000 acres of land will preserve scenic views along the Appalachian Trail, maintain wildlife habitats, support outdoor recreation and ensure the Navy can continue to carry out essential training at the SERE School. We commend the Trust for Public Land’s commitment to protecting the beauty of Maine’s Western Mountains.”
“Maine’s beautiful landscapes, diverse wildlife, and unmatched natural resources provide for thousands of jobs across our tourism, foresting and harvesting industries, as well as unique areas that serve to support our nation’s military readiness,” said Congressman Bruce Poliquin. “Over the last few decades, we’ve been able to achieve great success in protecting our environment and our natural resources through sensible conservation and preservation, and it’s important we continue to move in that direction and don’t go backward. This plan supported by local communities and leaders to protect more than 10,000 acres of our natural landscape will continue the spirit of sensible conservation in our State and will allow the Navy to maintain its training programs and readiness.”
Additional support for the Redington Forest project came from the following foundations: Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Open Space Institute’s Transborder Fund, and Summer Hill Foundation.
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.