Denmark and Bridgton, ME — 1666 acres completed
For almost five years, town officials sought to own forestland to preserve the quality of life, rural character, and access to recreation that people in the western foothills of Maine so value. They were also concerned about supporting the local economy.
“Working with the Northern Forest Center, Loon Echo Land Trust and its partners learned about the principles involved in Community Forests and the benefits that come from locally-owned forests. The Center showed us successful Community Forest projects as examples to refer to while we were structuring several forest projects with participating municipalities here in the Lake Region of Southern Maine.”
Now the towns of Denmark and Bridgton own the 1,666-acre Perley Mills Community Forest with a conservation easement held by the Loon Echo Land Trust. The continuous forest and large wetland and stream complexes on the two adjacent properties that comprise the Community Forest will benefit from public ownership and permanent protection. By owning forestland, the town can guarantee public access as well as have long-term income from sustainable forest management. Income from the Community Forest will support property management as well as other municipal programs and projects.
The Center helped the local land trust educate residents about the benefits of community ownership and how community participation makes that ownership successful. The Community Forest conserves significant wildlife habitat and recreational features, including multiple ponds, brooks, and large wetlands. Pickerel Pond, the jewel of the property located in the heart of the Denmark parcel, is used by the public for fishing, swimming and boating with small boats. It also has significant recreational resources, with three miles of the historical Narrow Gauge Trail which now serves as a state snowmobile trail and part of a regional ATV network. Public use of the land will include snowmobiling, ATV riding, hunting, fishing, boating, swimming, walking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and horseback riding, offering a major public benefit and economic asset to the region.