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01/24/2012

Maine Awarded $9 million to Protect North Woods

MooseLast week, the state of Maine received $9 million in grants from the U.S. Forest Service that will protect 18,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat, much of which will be protected as state public lands. Granted from the Forest Legacy Program, the money demonstrates the ongoing success of the Keeping Maine's Forests Initiative. The initiative, in which the Sierra Club plays a leading role, is a coalition of diverse interests that all have a stake in ensuring that the environmental, recreational, and economic benefits of Maine's North Woods continue into the future. Sierra Club has helped to shine a light on the High Peaks Region as a nationally signficant area, and it has been included as a priority area in the administration's America's Great Outdoors Initiative.

The money will allow the Maine Department of Conservation to purchase 11,800 acres of working forests on Crocker Moutnain abutting the Appalachain Trail to be used as state public lands. The funds will also purcahse a conservation easement on nearly 6,000 acres around Orbeton Stream. Both are areas of priority wildlife habitat in the Western Mountains/High Peaks focus area of the Sierra Club's Resilient Habitats Campaign.

The area includes prime habitat for native brook trout as well habitat that has been deemed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be crticial to the Atlantic salmon. The land will also be available for public recreational uses such as hiking, biking, fishing, and skiing. Aside from the on-the-ground conservation that will be accomplished by protecting these areas, the parcels are actually part of a much larger area ensuring that more than 77,000 acres will now be conserved.

Read more from the State of Maine.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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