Maine Woodland Owners has announced the completion of the largest land donation in the group’s history. Over 2,000 acres of forest located in New Gloucester was received from the Chandler family helping Maine Woodland Owners meet a significant milestone as it now has permanently conserved over 10,000 acres of woodland throughout the state.
Maine Woodland Owners, previously known as Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine or SWOAM, was formed 45 years ago as an educational organization dedicated to providing knowledge and technical support for Maine’s small woodland owners. Its goal is to increase landowner engagement and long-term woodland stewardship to ensure the health of Maine’s forests.
The Chandler family has owned and managed several hundred acres of forestland in New Gloucester since the 18th century. In the past few years it became clear that the family would need to find a permanent owner who would keep the land undeveloped as a working forest. In January 2018 it was revealed that Maine Woodland Owners would be receiving a significant land donation. The final three parcels of the gift were signed over during an informal gathering at the Maine Woodland Owners office in Augusta in late February, making Maine Woodland Owners the town’s largest landowner
“We’re all in awe of this spectacular gift.” said Maine Woodland Owners Executive Director Tom Doak.
Maine Woodland Owners received its first land donation in 1991 and today conserves and conducts sustainable forest management on land in 50 towns throughout Maine. Among the 10,000 acres in the land trust, over 40 % was donated in the past three years and a dozen parcels are currently in the process of being donated. This aligns with a shift in family woodland ownership that reflects a trend of an aging population leading to a potential wholesale change in forest conservation for much of one third of Maine’s woodlands.
These recent donations, like all lands owned by Maine Woodland Owners, are open to the public, with each parcel will be guided by a management plan that meets internationally recognized sustainability standards. The land will serve as a demonstration of how small woodlands can contribute to the local economy, enhance wildlife habitat and conserve special places. Maine Woodland Owners is planning to hold public tours on one of the nearly two dozen parcels this summer.
For more information about Maine Woodland Owners visit mainewoodlandowners.org or contact Jennifer Hicks, director of communications and outreach, at email@example.com or 207-626-0005.