Downeast Lakes Community Forest: Lakeville Expansion

Downeast Lakes Community Forest: Lakeville Expansion featured image

Two decades ago, a group of neighbors in Grand Lake Stream, Maine, with no experience in the conservation field, got together to protect local forestland that was threatened by development. Timber companies were swooping into the region, heavily harvesting trees, and then selling the land to real estate developers. The result was Downeast Lakes Community Forest, a model of the movement to conserve the rapidly disappearing forests of the Northeast through public or nonprofit ownership.

In partnership with the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, we expanded this prized Community Forest by 2,025-acres, including old-growth type forest, wetlands, and streams, and the last undeveloped tracts of land on Sysladobsis Lake. Local residents and visitors alike enjoy the rugged landscape, one that has remained unchanged for many decades. In fact, the Downeast Lakes region–an inland expanse of eastern Maine studded with pristine lakes–has more certified mountain guides than any other area of Maine.

The Downeast Lakes Land Trust, which owns the new addition, plans to let the property recover from the aggressive timber harvesting that took place there. As with the original Community Forest, the group will eventually sustainably harvest trees from this property. Those revenues will help maintain roads, remove invasive species, and restore habitat. And locals and visitors alike will continue to enjoy this property for boating, hiking, hunting, snowmobiling, mountain biking, and more.