Grand Lake Stream, ME, — 21,870 acres completed

The Downeast Lakes Land Trust (DLLT) has completed acquisition of the 21,870 acre West Grand Lake Community Forest (WGLCF), completing an eight-year, $19.4-million campaign.

The land was purchased from The Lyme Timber Company of Hanover, NH, and protects over 17 miles of lake shore and over 90 miles of stream shore.  Bordering Big Musquash Stream on the eastern side and West Grand Lake on the western side, the WGLCF adjoins the Farm Cove Community Forest to the west and the Sunrise Easement to the north and south.  The WGLCF will be combined with the land trust's adjoining Farm Cove Community Forest to total more than 55,000 acres of Community Forest.

The Center helped make the Community Forest project possible by facilitating the Lyme Timber Company's purchase of the land in 2008 (read about our New Markets Tax Credit funding program). Lyme Timber committed to managing the forest sustainably and working with the community and the Downeast Lakes Land Trust toward eventual community ownership of the land. This first purchase protected the forest from liquidation harvesting and a subsequent conservation easement guarantees the forest will remain undeveloped. The new Community Forest helps fulfill a 370,000 acre community-led conservation vision in the Downeast Lakes region. 

In the Downeast Lakes region of Maine, the forest is key to local economy and the region’s outdoor recreation-based economy and its culture. The project is centered in Grand Lake Stream, a town of 128 people with an economy that relies on hunting, fishing and other recreation activities.

The Community Forest will provide timber harvesting revenue and, together with the Farm Cove Community Forest, a total of 56,000 protected acres of forests and lakes on which the region’s guides and sporting camps depend. Leadership from the Downeast Lakes Land Trust has built project support, local knowledge, and a greater sense of community. This extraordinary example of local leadership and natural resource stewardship has attracted national attention.