The Appalachian Mountain Club has protected nearly 27,000 acres of working forestland near the West Branch of Pleasant River in Maine, a project made possible through The Conservation Fund’s Working Forest Fund® program and supported in part with a leadership gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
The Pleasant River Headwaters Forest is an especially high priority for the Appalachian Mountain Club because it is adjacent to more than 75,000 acres currently owned and managed by AMC. The property is situated in the center of the 100 Mile Wilderness Area that stretches along the Appalachian Trail corridor from Monson to Baxter State Park. Acquiring and restoring the property will conserve one of the last remaining large, unprotected forest blocks in the region.
“This acquisition will crystallize the conservation vision that underpins AMC’s role as a fully vested partner in Maine’s outdoor economy. It means deriving more value for more people from a more resilient landscape, and that’s really exciting.”
– John Judge, AMC President & CEO
Permanent conservation of the Pleasant River Headwaters Forest property will add to watershed protection of both the West and Middle Branches of the Pleasant River, which serve as a critical designated habitat for Atlantic salmon and native brook trout. Future efforts by the Appalachian Mountain Club to restore aquatic habitat on the property will help to reestablish renowned native brook trout populations and allow Atlantic salmon to return to native spawning grounds in the headwater streams of the West Branch for the first time in nearly two centuries—making it one of the only places in the state where this will be possible.
Future restorative forestry efforts on the property will position multi-use forestland as the ideal stronghold for ecological resilience and climate adaptability, providing more and higher quality wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) to local and regional mills while simultaneously improving habitat and doubling carbon sequestration on AMC’s Maine lands. Through careful forest management, AMC will leverage its ownership to sustain local economies and keep the land open for public access.
“The Pleasant River Headwaters Forest represents a keystone parcel—the hole in the doughnut—for landscape connectivity and resilience in the 100-Mile Wilderness. Securing its future and restoring late-successional habitat here will put regional climate adaptation planning in league with the White Mountain National Forest and Adirondack Park, proving that forests that work hard for human communities can rank among those working hardest for natural communities, too.”