More than 13,000 acres of wilderness will be permanently protected in western Maine
More than 13,000 acres on two parcels of land in the western Maine Mountains have been permanently protected by the Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy in Maine and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.
The two properties, known as Quill Hill and Perham Stream, are a culturally significant part of Wabanaki traditional territory.
"The Nature Conservancy has identified places in the state and around the country where we want to make sure we keep forests and forestry intact so that in the future those landscapes continue to be safe havens for biodiversity," says Kate Dempsey of the Nature Conservancy.
Quill Hill, about 7,000 acres in size, is just 10 minutes from Rangeley. It's a popular destination with a universally accessible trail system and other recreational trails.
Perham Stream, on the slopes of Mt. Abraham, is just over 6,500 acres. It contains two headwater streams in the Kennebec River watershed, important cold water habitat. Both parcels are visible from the Appalachian Trail, Mt. Abraham and the Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway, and both are adjacent to the wilderness training facility operated by the U.S. Navy in Redington Township.
They're important to the Rangeley-area economy for outdoor recreation and the forest products industry. And Dempsey says keeping them forested is necessary for carbon storage and for protecting wildlife in a changing climate.
All of the acreage will remain open for public use and most of it will continue to be managed for timber harvests. Dempsey says some of the land will also be added to the state's public reserve system. Lead funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Navy.