Conservation Groups Rally to Protect Critical Forestland Adjacent to Saddleback Ski Resort
Rangeley, ME (OCTOBER 27, 2016)—Two conservation organizations, New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) and The Trust for Public Land (TPL), are uniting to conserve forestland adjacent to Saddleback Mountain Ski Area.
“Conservation of this land will provide a spark that may help re-open Saddleback Mountain,” explains Wolfe Tone, The Trust for Public Land’s Maine State Director. “Through this project, we can permanently protect the social, economic, and environmental values of this landscape, all while supporting the local community.” The project represents the first installment of a larger NEFF and TPL effort to conserve land in the area surrounding the high peaks of western Maine—an area being referred to as the Mountains of the Dawn.
Millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs were lost in the Rangeley community following the close of Saddleback in 2015. The Saddleback owners and the local community have been seeking a new owner who can re-open the resort, and the sale of the adjacent forestland for conservation will help to accomplish this goal. In addition to spurring the re-opening of the resort, conserving the land will protect the multitude of benefits that the forestland provides, including clean air and water, sustainable forest products, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. This story of conservation and community has been picked up by news outlets including Maine Public Radio and the Portland Press Herald.
Saddleback Mountain is nestled in the heart of the globally significant Mountains of the Dawn landscape, and NEFF and The Trust for Public Land are working together with other members of the Maine Mountain Collaborative to ensure that the region continues to support local communities and wildlife. Spanning 5 million acres and 160 miles from western Maine to Baxter State Park, the Mountains of the Dawn region supports 139 rare plants and animals, and provides core habitat for iconic wildlife such as lynx, moose, loon, marten, salmon, and brook trout. Currently, NEFF and The Trust for Public Land are pursuing three unique conservation projects in the region, totaling over 10,000 acres. The Saddleback Project will contribute roughly one third of this acreage.
“The Mountains of the Dawn are nationally significant as bird habitat and as a wood product basket for the urban Northeast. Conserving these properties gives us a chance to show how conservation and exemplary forestry go hand in hand, all while supporting the local community in a unique way,” explains Robert Perschel, NEFF’s Executive Director.
Alec Giffen, NEFF’s Senior Advisor and former Maine State Forester speaks to the significance of forest values. “Conserving Saddleback and other properties in the region will enable the communities of the Mountains of the Dawn region to deliver a stream of forest products and forest values to the community, the state, and New England, for generations to come. Forestland lies at the heart of the state’s present and future economy,” states Giffen.
The Trust for Public Land and NEFF have received public support for the Saddleback project, and will be seeking private support to complete the project once negotiations are finalized. Together, through conservation and community involvement, there is an opportunity to conserve forest benefits while supporting local jobs.
Learn more by contacting representatives from NEFF or TPL:
Wolfe Tone, The Trust for Public Land: 207.772.7424, email@example.com
Bob Perschel, New England Forestry Foundation: 978.952.6856 ext. 104, firstname.lastname@example.org