Conservation Efforts Produce Big Results

We first started working in this area in 2005, when we joined a network of partners to protect more than 325,000 acres of working forest through a conservation easement. At the time, this was the second largest forestland conservation easement in U.S. history.

This bold conservation initiative resulted in the permanent protection of more than one million acres of essentially uninterrupted habitat across an international boundary. The protected forestlands are strategically positioned between more than 600,000 acres of conserved lands in New Brunswick, Canada, and 200,000 acres of state, federal and Native American lands in Maine. The lands contain 54 lakes with 336 miles of lake shoreline and more than 1,500 miles of river and stream shoreline in the Machias, East Machias, Dennys, Mattawamkeag and St. Croix River watersheds.

In 2012, we furthered this effort, with support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. Providing funding to the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, we made it possible for the State of Maine to conserve roughly 22,000 acres of forestland. This land connects with the one million acres of already-conserved lands.

Why This Project Matters

Loon floating on 4th Machias Lake. Photo by David Gallagher/Flickr Loon floating on 4th Machias Lake. Photo by David Gallagher/Flickr Protecting this forestland in Maine sustains a natural resource based rural economy and the lifestyle of residents in Washington and Penobscot counties. The forest conservation easement and an access easement together maintain sustainable forestry practices and ensure perpetual public access for hunting, fishing, hiking, birding and boating. There are at least eight active bald eagle nests and 33 nesting pairs of loons, representing seven percent of the loons in northern Maine. Together, the lakes and 50,800 acres of wetlands provide habitat for 180 bird species, including 23 warblers, American black ducks and wood ducks; as well as bear, moose, deer, pine marten, beaver and otter. This tremendous coldwater fishery also supports landlocked salmon and smallmouth bass.

Impressive Partnership

This project brought together an extraordinary group of public and private partners to support the local economy, linked by tradition to the surrounding natural resource base. Our shared conservation success protects Maine’s legacy of working forest jobs and beautiful outdoor heritage.

Downeast Maine


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Places We Protect: Working Lands

Why Do Forests Matter?

At The Conservation Fund, we believe that well-managed forests can be both economically viable and ecologically sustainable, but like all other necessary parts of our national infrastructure, they need to be invested in and maintained. That's why, since 1985, we've protected more than a million forest acres across America. Protecting and maintaining working forests, and the communities that depend on them, remains one of our top conservation priorities.

Video by The Conservation Fund.