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Conservation groups preserve more than 20,000 acres in western Maine

"These lands ... are now protected from conversion to non-forest uses"
Credit: Courtesy of Jerry Monkman EcoPhotography

PORTLAND, Maine — Conservation organizations in Maine said they have preserved more than 20,000 acres in the western part of the state.

The Forest Society of Maine said it holds a conservation easement on 15,000 acres of forests, and Northeast Wilderness Trust now owns 6,045 acres of watershed and high elevation habitat. The society said Tuesday the forestlands are in the area of Grafton Township, Maine.

The Forest Society of Maine said the newly conserved lands border the Appalachian Trail and include trails that access it. The society said it worked with dozens of organizations and individual donors to raise money to protect the lands.

Credit: Forest Society of Maine

According to a news release from the Forest Society of Maine, the project permanently conserves public access to two AT side trails and ensures permanent access on the main woods road that leads to them for recreationists and emergency vehicles to use. 

The newly conserved land is adjacent to Maine-owned Mahoosuc Unit, the AT, and Grafton Notch State Park. 

"These lands, which are rated highly for their resiliency to climate change, are now protected from conversion to non-forest uses in an area experiencing strong development pressures," the society said in a statement.

Maine's two U.S. Senators, Republican Susan Collins and independent Angus King, and Gov. Janet Mills wrote in support of the conservation project. 

"We are especially pleased that traditional recreational activities and public access will be supported by this project, which will help preserve western Maine's stunning beauty for the enjoyment of all and ensure the region continues to be a destination for outdoor enthusiasts for many years to come," King and Collins said in a joint statement. 

NEWS CENTER Maine staff contributed to this report. 

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