Nestled in the shadow of Mount Katahdin, just south of Baxter State Park, The Nature Conservancy’s Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area (DLWA) is a vital link in nearly 500,000 acres of contiguous conservation land.
Debsconeag means “carrying place,” named by native people for the portage sites where they carried their birch bark canoes around rapids and waterfalls. The DLWA contains the highest concentration of pristine, remote ponds in New England, as well as thousands of acres of mature forests.
Except for some areas around pre-existing camps, DLWA is managed as an ecological reserve. Ecological reserves are areas set aside for conservation and study of Maine’s ecosystems. Ideally, reserves are large enough to withstand storms, diseases and other natural disturbances and to provide secure habitat for wide-ranging species like moose, fisher, bobcat and pine marten. Ecological reserves are important to scientists studying how nature responds to challenges such as climate change, forest pests and diseases, and airborne pollution.
With your help, the Conservancy acquired this 46,271-acre preserve in 2002 and simultaneously helped secure a working forest conservation easement on 195,000 acres adjacent to the Debsconeags and Baxter State Park.