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The Bethel Community Forest adds more than 500 acres

sunday river trail.jpg
Esta Pratt-Kielley
Maine Public
A trail at Sunday River resort in July 2022. The Bethel Community Forest trails will connect Sunday River and Mt. Abram with the expanded acreage.

The Bethel Community Forest is expanding by just over 530 acres.

According to a press release from The Conservation Fund and Inland Woods & Trails, the land acquisition was made possible by two anonymous donors, as well as significant funding from USDA Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program and a grant from The Conservation Fund’s Oxford County Land Conservation Grant Program in partnership with The Stifler Family Foundation.

It will increase recreational trail access and add protection for deer wintering habitat as well as provide sustainably managed timber to support local mills.

The trails will connect two ski resorts — Sunday River and Mt. Abram. Tom Duffus of the Conservation Fund says the project and other similar ones in the area make the Bethel region appealing as a recreation destination.