JACKMAN — The Nature Conservancy and the Forest Society of Maine have finalized a conservation easement to conserve nearly 10,000 acres of land in northwestern Maine that are nationally recognized for their ecological significance and are a destination for hikers, paddlers, hunters and anglers.
The newly conserved lands, according to a press release, are located just southwest of Jackman. The lands include forests along the renowned Moose River Bow Canoe Trip and a popular trail to the summit of No. 5 Mountain. Public access for hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting and fishing is ensured by the terms of the easement, as is road access to Spencer Rips on the Moose River.
The Nature Conservancy purchased this property, now called the Moose River–No. 5 Mountain Preserve, from Plum Creek Timber Co. with the goal of permanent conservation. This goal was achieved in August when the Forest Society of Maine accepted the conservation easement and took responsibility for overseeing the property and ensuring compliance with the easement terms.
The property will be managed as an ecological reserve where forests, including some of the best jack pine woodlands in Maine, will be permitted to function naturally as a benchmark within the broader working forest landscape of Maine’s North Woods.
The easement represents the latest success in a quarter-century effort by landowners, timber and tourism interests, local communities and ecologists to maintain this region’s special character by balancing conservation and economic growth, the release said.
With this latest addition, a network of nearly 50,000 acres of conservation lands in the Jackman area now sustain a flow of forest products to local mills and businesses and protect ecologically sensitive areas such as No. 5 Bog. They also maintain open space for hunting, fishing and a network of trails and campsites that attract large numbers of visitors to the area each year.
“It is so heartening to stand atop No. 5 Mountain, see this grand expanse of woods and waters, and realize that through thoughtful action the lands and traditions that define and sustain this region will endure,” said Alan Hutchinson, executive director of the Forest Society of Maine.
“This is an especially meaningful step for our organization because we got our start in the Jackman area.” The Forest Society of Maine was created in 1984 when the Coburn family chose to conserve 18,000 acres of their productive forestlands surrounding Attean Pond, Attean Mountain, the Moose River and No. 5 Bog.
The property also provides an important buffer for the neighboring, 5,000-acre Moose River Reserve, a state property protected by a Nature Conservancy easement.
“Patches of old forest provide an important complement to the working forests in this region, and many species of plants and animals — including deer and migratory songbirds — will benefit from a large block of mature forest,” said Nancy Sferra, director of science and stewardship for The Nature Conservancy in Maine.
The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 18 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 117 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit The Nature Conservancy online at www.nature.org/maine
The Forest Society of Maine has helped to conserve more than 930,000 acres of Maine’s forestlands in a manner that sustains the ecological, economic, cultural and recreational values of the Maine woods. As Maine’s land trust for the North Woods, FSM focuses its efforts to promote the conservation of functional, working forest landscapes with multiple social and ecological values. Visit the Forest Society of Maine online at www.fsmaine.org
More info about the Moose River Bow Canoe Trip is available at http://bdn.to/mooseriver.