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The Rural Maine Reporting Project is made possible through the generous support of the Betterment Fund.

440 acres permanently protected as a community forest in Rumford

More than 440 acres have been permanently protected as a community forest in Rumford, about a five minute drive from downtown.

Plans call for development of trails for hiking, biking, skiing and motorized uses and two new parking areas. Hunting and fishing will also be allowed on the property which had once been permitted for 257 residential and condominium lots.

Rumford Economic Development Director George O'Keefe said the town is excited to protect the land and help diversify the local economy.

"This land, which is in what I describe as the 'skiers' eye' going down Black Mountain will be preserved in perpetuity forever," O'Keefe said. "And then we'll also provide for continued strengthening of our outdoor recreation industries and opportunities for employment around outdoor recreation."

The Trust for Public Land and Inland Woods and Trails are partners in the project which received funding form the Land for Maine's Future program and the U.S. Forest Service.