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 property plays a key role in landscape connectivity and climate change resilience in the 100-Mile Wilderness. Securing its future and restoring critical wildlife habitat here will ensure the protection of more than 150 squares miles of forest, enhancing our ongoing efforts to provide recreation access, support the regional economy, and further opportunities for conservation and education.”
– Walter Graff, AMC Senior Vice President
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.
“Maine’s most successful conservation efforts protect sustainable working forests, public access for a wide variety of uses, our state’s wildlife habitat, and contributions to our economy. I am thrilled to see each of these important priorities woven into the Pleasant River Headwaters Forest project in Piscataquis County, and I appreciate the hard work of the Appalachian Mountain Club and The Conservation Fund to bring this project forward.”
– Governor Janet T. Mills
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 project is a shining example of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s successful efforts to protect Maine’s pristine environment and promote recreation opportunities for everyone to enjoy. The conservation of this significant tract of land will preserve sensitive habitats while welcoming hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, this project will boost the economy in the region by promoting tourism and allowing the forest products industry to continue the sustainable harvest of timber. We commend AMC’s work to maintain this land for current and future generations.”
– Senators Susan Collins and Angus King