Blue Hill Heritage Trust acquires block of forestland

BLUE HILL — Blue Hill Heritage Trust celebrated the purchase of another large block of forestland with its acquisition of Meadowbrook Forest on April 26.

The 2,031-acre Meadowbrook Forest property, which straddles the line between Surry and Ellsworth, is the second largest parcel of land on the Blue Hill Peninsula.

The trust’s Surry Forest is the largest, and like Surry Forest, Meadowbrook Forest will be managed for multiple uses. It offers more than nine miles of woods road, providing ideal recreational access for bikers and walkers.

Meadowbrook is also a vital link in a documented north-south wildlife corridor on the peninsula.

The property encompasses important coastal wetlands, which are a feature of high conservation value in the region.

Purchase of the property was made possible in large part by a National Coast Wetlands Conservation Grant, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Funding was also provided by the Anahata Foundation and private donors.

The purchase was part of the Maine Coastal Forest Partnership, a collaborative effort between The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, New England Forestry Foundation, Blue Hill Heritage Trust and Downeast Salmon Federation.

Meadowbrook is part of a larger 17,000-acre parcel of forestland in Hancock and Washington counties.

The Conservation Fund has negotiated the purchase of that larger parcel and is holding the land while the other partners raise money in order to take long-term ownership.

Meadowbrook is BHHT’s part in this larger project.

“No matter what your specific interest in conservation is — whether it’s recreation, hunting, wildlife or habitat protection — this property will be tremendously important,” said Hans M. Carlson, executive director of BHHT. “It represents a kind of big-block protection that just does not happen often on the peninsula. We are very excited, and very grateful to The Conservation Fund for helping all of us to succeed.”

“The goal of our Working Forest Fund program is to protect large working forests across the country from the increasing threat of conversion and fragmentation. We rely on partnerships with savvy organizations like BHHT to achieve permanent conservation solutions for these forested landscapes,” said Tom Duffus, vice president and Northeast Representative for The Conservation Fund. “BHHT is a leader in conserving habitats that define Maine’s way of life, and its vision for the Meadowbrook Forest incorporates multiple benefits for the community, wildlife and the local economy.”

The Conservation Fund currently owns and manages 81,000 acres of important working lands across the state of Maine, allowing time for its partners to secure funding and implement practical conservation solutions.

The trust will manage Meadowbrook Forest as a demonstration forest, providing educational opportunities for local landowners interested in forest management practices, as well as public access for hunting and other traditional uses.

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