ORONO, Maine — The largest collaborative effort to date between the Orono Land Trust and the Bangor Land Trust has resulted in the conservation of 2,738 acres of forests, meadows, wetlands and lakeshores in the Bangor-Alton area.
The newest addition to the Caribou Bog-Penjajawoc Lands Project is the result of extensive work with landowners and developers to protect and connect key land parcels ranging from 43 to 1,100 acres while also raising $1.2 million to support the conservation effort.
“This strategy will contribute to the long-term success of the corridor as a recreational and wildlife asset for people who reside in the Bangor area or visit here,” said Sally Jacobs, spokeswoman for the Caribou Bog-Penjajawoc Conservation Committee.
Added Bangor Land Trust president Lucy Quimby: “Developing a recreational resource on this scale will greatly enhance our region’s economic health.”
Partners in the project include the University of Maine, the University of Maine Foundation, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Forest Society of Maine and several private donors.
Each parcel has intrinsic habitat and recreation values enhanced by connections to other parcels, providing for larger recreational trail networks and travel corridors for wildlife. Combined with the 2001 establishment of the Caribou Bog-Penjajawoc Lands Project, the corridor encompasses 7,508 acres.
Most of the lands will be working landscape and will be open for recreational activities such as hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing and trapping. Snowmobiling is permitted in designated areas.
The popular Orono Bog Boardwalk also is permanently protected by the conservation effort.
“Thanks are owed to scores of individuals who donated thousands of hours in planning, working with landowners, writing grant proposals, lending professional skills and providing funds to complete this ambitious project,” Jacobs said.
The University of Maine Foundation donated land in the Caribou Bog originally owned by Les and Jo Birmingham of Freeport back in 2001. Applying that parcel to help expand a conservation area will aid the university’s mission of teaching, research and outreach, officials said.
“We are proud to be part of this nationally significant project,” said Elaine Clark, associate vice president for administration and finance at UMaine. “It preserves critical wildlife and migratory bird habitats while allowing the university to continue to use the land for activities related to sustainable forestry, an important area of study.”
The conservation effort also protects working forestlands, something Alan Hutchinson of the Forest Society of Maine said is crucial.
“This project will provide a continuing supply of forest products, jobs, wildlife habitat, and traditional recreation in our immediate area,” he said.