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3,000 acres on east shore of Moosehead Lake protected from development

An island on Prong Pond, part of a 3,000-acre conservation project in Greenville.
Isaac Crabtree
Forest Society of Maine
An island on Prong Pond, part of a 3,000-acre conservation project in Greenville.

A 3,000-acre swath of forest that had been eyed for a subdivision near Moosehead Lake has been permanently conserved with the help of the Forest Society of Maine and the Friends of Wilson Ponds.

Along the eastern shore of Moosehead Lake, Scammon Ridge is a highly visible, scenic property that Greenville residents like to explore, hike and hunt. It contains Prong Pond, a popular fishing hole for area children.

It also contains sensitive habitats for migrating birds and cold-water fish, as well as moose, bear, deer and lynx. But Kay Johnson of the group Friends of Wilson Ponds says things could have been a lot different for the largest contiguous forest in Greenville, at the edge of Maine's North Woods.

"There were, I think, eight 40-acre lots that were planned for this area," Johnson says. "And it would have had quite a scenic impact, both from the lake and Wilson Ponds, and so we're very excited about having this put into conservation."

Karin Tilberg, president of the Forest Society of Maine, says the Scammon Ridge conservation effort is significant because of growing development pressures in the Moosehead region and because the approved developable lots on the parcel at the edge of Maine's North Woods are now extinguished.

"And this easement that the Forest Society of Maine holds now is another way of protecting that large intact, great forest that we have in Maine. So, this is a project that's not only important locally but in a way globally," Tilberg says.

Maine has the largest intact forest and darkest skies east of the Mississippi. And Tilberg says it was encouraging to see residents of Greenville contribute $200,000 of their own money toward a $2.3 million fundraising campaign for the project because they recognize those unique values. Additional support was provided by the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and other organizations.

Sustainable forest management will continue on the Scammon Ridge property, which will also remain open for public recreational use.