New Conservation Easement Protects No. 5 Mountain in Western Maine
After 25 years of effort, partnership brings conservation success to popular recreation area. Nearly 10,000 acres added to Jackman-area protected land.
JACKMAN, ME | September 21, 2011
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 are located just southwest of Jackman, Maine, a North Woods community whose economy is tied to forestry and tourism. 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 Leuthold Forest 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. This 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.
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 the ecologically sensitive areas like 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 a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.