Maine Milestones: AMC Promotes Conservation, Education, and Recreation in the Maine Woods

maine woods
Ryan SmithJohn Judge speaks to AMC’s efforts to promote conservation, education, and recreation in the Maine Woods.

Nearly 75,000 acres. More than 115 square miles. That’s one-and-a-half times the size of Acadia National Park and five times bigger than Manhattan. It’s also the extent of the conservation and recreation land AMC owns and manages in Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness region, thanks to the backing of you, our members, friends, and supporters.

But what we’re doing with that land is more important than its sheer size. We are:

  • Keeping it open to the public for recreation forever.
  • Building an expansive trail network—140 miles and counting—for hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and mountain biking.
  • Practicing on-the-ground conservation through resource protection and sustainable forestry, and providing jobs for local forest products workers.
  • Introducing local schoolkids to the outdoors, with our land as the outdoor classroom for AMC’s Maine Woods Community Youth and Environment Project.
  • And we’re making good on a key tenet of our Maine Woods Initiative (MWI): creating new multiday recreational opportunities, including at our three Maine Wilderness Lodges, and attracting new nature-based tourism to the region.

The latest example is the July 1 reopening of Medawisla Lodge & Cabins, our newest center for outdoor adventure, where you can hike, mountain bike, paddle, fish, ski, snowshoe, enjoy home-cooked meals, and retire to your own cozy cabin at day’s end.

Medawisla’s reopening closely follows another major benchmark in Maine for outdoor recreation and habitat protection. In December, we worked with the Forest Society of Maine (FSM) and the Open Space Institute to acquire 4,358 forested acres surrounding Silver Lake and 12 miles of the West Branch of the Pleasant River. FSM raised the $4.35 million needed for the purchase; AMC is the new owner, and FSM holds a conservation easement that guarantees public recreational access forever.

This project builds on our earlier MWI successes, including the purchase and continued conservation of our Katahdin Iron Works property and Roach Ponds tract and the 2015 purchase of 3,521-foot Baker Mountain, acquired with assistance from The Nature Conservancy.

It is due to these types of partnerships, these local commitments, and these conservation successes that in April AMC received the Cultivator Award as part of the Maine Sunday Telegram’s prestigious SOURCE Sustainability Awards. The criteria? “A business or nonprofit that has been steadily building the infrastructure, community connections, or other resources necessary to make Maine a more sustainable place to live.”

Thank you for your continued support in helping us achieve this important recognition. Our work, with your help, is a shining example of where conservation, education, and recreation meet.


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John D. Judge, President

AMC Outdoors, the magazine of the Appalachian Mountain Club, inspires readers to get outside and get engaged. Learn more.