An unusual partnership between the Trust for Public Land, the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust and the U.S. Navy has led to the protection of more than 10,000 acres near the Appalachian Trail in Rangeley.
The area is popular for hiking, fishing, snowmobiling and hunting. It's also home to a wilderness training school run by the Navy, which provided much of the funding for the purchase of conservation easements.
Betsy Cook of the Trust for Public Land says the project will ensure that scenic views, wildlife habitat and public access are protected.
"It's easy to think that the views and remote recreational experiences we have will always be there for us, but the reality is that the majority of the land is privately owned and public access is not guaranteed,” says Cook. “So, the land is still vulnerable to drastic change and lack of public access. And these land protection projects provide secure benefits to the public to allow for recreation for all future generations."
The protected acreage includes Redington Forest and Lone Mountain in the western mountains near some of Maine's highest peaks.
Lucia Helder is an intern for Maine Public.