Bethel, ME — 2,411 acres completed
The 2,411-acre Bingham Community Forest is owned by the town of Bethel, Maine, but is located in the adjacent community of Newry. The forest, originally managed to protect Bethel's drinking water supply, is now managed for water quality protection, wildlife habitat protection, public recreation, and sustainable timber management.
Bethel's interest in recreation is strong, particularly for hiking and mountain biking, and the town is creating a network of trails on the property to complement existing recreational opportunities in the area. The Bethel Forest Commission manages the property.
The upland property has an estimated 5 miles of streams, many of which are mountain cascades with some waterfalls. The property is visible from the village of Bethel and the entire Androscoggin River valley.
The Center assisted the Town of Bethel by educating town officials and residents about the Community Forest Model and making recommendations regarding the process as the town transitioned the property to its new role. The town completed a management plan for the Bingham Forest in 2012 that encompassed all the key elements of the Community Forest Model.