A coalition of land conservation groups is buying and preserving a 15,000-acre tree farm in western Maine that's been in one family for 12 generations.
Tom Duffus is Maine's representative for the Conservation Fund. He says the Chadbourne parcels include white pine forests that fed the family's sawmills for more than 100 years, as well as secluded trout brooks, and Tumbledown Dick Mountain.
"And that's part of the Chadbourne Tree Farm," Duffus says. "It's a famed rock climbing area but also an extraordinary vista as you come through Gilead and into Bethel."
Duffus says the property will continue to be managed to provide lumber, pulp - and jobs. He adds that some 3,500 acres of the properties will be managed for the health of the watershed of Sebago Lake, which provides water for one in six Mainers.
He says the value of the deal is being kept confidential at the family's request. While the fund is putting up the initial financing for the purchase, it's expected that conservation easements will eventually be bought by the Mahoosuc Land Trust, Mahoosuc Pathways, the Western Foothills Land Trust and the U.S. Forest Service.
Duffus says while the properties are managed by the Conservation Fund, they will continue to pay full property taxes.