Everyone’s livelihood is connected to the extensive forest and the resulting outdoor recreation industry centered in Grand Lake Stream, Maine. The prospect that the land would be sold and the timber liquidated created an ideal project for New Markets Tax Credit financing.
Knowing that the owner preferred to sell the 22,000 acres to a buyer who would not liquidate the forest and threaten the local economy, the Center’s staff worked around the clock to help bring together the right players—Lyme Timber Company to purchase the land, the Downeast Lakes Land Trust and community leaders to secure investment and local support, CEI Capital Management to provide tax credits, and Bangor Savings Bank to purchase tax credits to make the financing available.
“We were really scared someone would develop the shoreline and decimate the forest. We were afraid of gates going up and kingdom lots being created and cutting off access. We’ve always used these lands around here like they were our own; to lose that privilege would really change the complexion of the area.”
The project eliminated the threat of timber liquidation and gave the Downeast Lakes Land Trust time to raise money to purchase conservation easements on the land, which are now held by the state. The land trust is now leading an effort to purchase the land from the Lyme Timber Company so that the 22,000 acres can be added to its existing Farm Cove Community Forest to form the West Grand Lake Community Forest.
The Community Forest will be a world class asset, providing benefits to the community, supporting the outdoor recreation industry and sustainable forestry, and providing a range of community benefits.