CONTRIBUTORS

Conservation can help businesses, communities in Lake region

Posted Aug. 13, 2012, at 2:30 p.m.

If you have ever paddled or fished the North Bay of Moosehead Lake, or rode the Moosehead Lake Snowmobile Loop, then you know that the lake’s undeveloped northern shore offers its visitors incredible opportunities for enjoying Maine’s North Woods. Much of the intact forest land that surrounds the shoreline is part of the Seboomook Unit, a state-owned and managed parcel that was permanently conserved in 2003.

Today, the Forest Society of Maine, a statewide land trust with offices in Bangor and Greenville, is working jointly with the state Department of Conservation and family landowners to acquire the largest inholding to this unit for the state of Maine.

Current zoning would allow as many as 10 subdivisions of the 81-acre inholding parcel which features two miles of shoreline on Moosehead Lake. If conserved, the inholding will be integrated into the Seboomook Unit, remain publicly accessible for recreational purposes, and managed sustainably for forest products. As part of the Moosehead-Seboomook Inholding project, a recreationally important two-acre island just offshore will also be conserved.

For Indian Hill Trading Post and other area businesses that sell outdoor recreation gear, guided trips, post-trip lodging or dining, and related services, land conservation projects serve a twofold purpose.

First, conservation sustains the beauty and integrity of the woods, waters and mountains that define our region. Land conservation can also protect public access for traditional recreational activities such as fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, hunting, skiing and paddling — activities that draw thousands of visitors to the Moosehead Lake region every year.

Successful completion of the Moosehead-Seboomook Inholding project will help ensure that public access for recreational uses will be maintained throughout the Moosehead region. Under state ownership and management, the parcel will provide an attractive rest area for paddlers on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, as well as for boaters, campers and fishermen exploring Moosehead Lake, and for snowmobilers riding the Moosehead Lake Snowmobile Trail loop.

By guaranteeing public access to the inholding and island, the project supports the health and prosperity of small, local businesses that are the economic engine of this area.

I invite you to come and enjoy the exceptional landscape of the Moosehead Lake region while supporting land conservation and the multiple benefits that it can provide to our communities and businesses.

At 7 p.m. Sunday, August 19, Maine singer/songwriter Anni Clark will perform at the Blair Hill Inn in Greenville. Tickets are on sale at the Blair Hill Inn and proceeds from the concert will benefit the Forest Society of Maine’s Moosehead–Seboomook Inholding project ($20 per ticket; 695-0224 or info@blairhill.com).

Whether you visit the Moosehead Lake region every summer or have never experienced an August sunset over Maine’s largest lake, attending the Anni Clark concert on August 19 will be a chance to contribute to a legacy of scenic beauty and traditional values that will last forever.

Craig Watt is a co-owner of Indian Hill Trading Post and Supermarket in Greenville, a family-owned business. He is a member of the board of directors for the Forest Society of Maine.

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