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Irving Unveils Plan for 51K Acres of Maine Forest Land

Canada-based J.D. Irving has submitted a concept plan to state regulators with ideas about how the company wants to use 51,000 acres of forest land and lakes it owns in northern Aroostook County.

Anthony Hourihan, Irving's director of land development, says the goal of the plan is to look ahead at future development, recreational use and management of a working forest.

Hourihan says the parcel includes four of the lakes in the Fish River Chain that are surrounded by more than 400 lots that have been leased to people who have cottages or homes.

"We've identified approximately 4 percent of the area that would become potential development areas in the future," Hourihan says. "Most of these are adjacent to other existing developments on the lake, as well as a couple of areas that we're calling 'community economic development zones,' which tend to be close to existing communities and on paved state highways, that type of thing."

More than 96 percent of the plan area provides what Irving calls significant long-term protection from development, including more than 14,000 acres in a permanent conservation easement, and almost 34,000 acres in restrictive zoning.

Hourihan says the Land Use Planning Commission is currently reviewing the plan.