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Environment and Outdoors

Deal Will Protect 27,000 Acres Of Maine Forestland

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Courtesy Appalachian Mountain Club
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A view of the Pleasnt River Headwaters Forest, in Maine's Piscataquis County.

Nearly 27,000 acres of working forestland in northern Maine is being protected in a deal that will bring the tract into Appalachian Mountain Club ownership.

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Credit Courtesy Appalachian Mountain Club
A map showing the Pleasant River Headwaters Forest parcel (in pink, lower right), which is adjacent to other AMC holdings in the area.

Late last week The Conservation Fund purchased the Pleasant River Headwaters Forest just north of Brownville Junction in Piscataquis County from a timber investment management organization for $18.5 million. 

The fund says it will sustainably manage the acreage until the Appalachian Mountain Club raises the $25 million needed to bring the land into its permanent ownership, protection and stewardship. 

The AMC says the parcel is a high priority because it's adjacent to more than 75,000 acres currently owned and managed by the club.  AMC President and CEO John Judge says the 27,000 acres will provide what they're calling a green endowment.

"Sustainable forestry that will be enjoyed from the 27,000 acres will help support the land management across 100,000 acres," Judge says. "And some of that is deferred maintenance - you know, things that haven't been tended to, in some cases,  for decades."

Judge says the 27,000-acre tract is a critical watershed that protects the east and west braches of the Pleasant River. "This is the largest land deal in maine in the last decade and the Pleasant River Headwaters Forest is one of the last remaining unprotected forests in the 100-mile Wilderness."

Judge says since 2003 AMC has invested nearly $100 million its holdings in the region, and developed three lodges and 130 miles of trails for hiking, skiing and cycling.