The land runs across Scammon Ridge, which separates the Kennebec and Penobscot River watersheds in Piscataquis County, now forever open to the public for recreation.
Author: Donovan Lynch
GREENVILLE, Maine — Three thousand acres in Greenville will be protected under a new conservation easement managed by the nonprofit Forest Society of Maine.
The land runs across Scammon Ridge, which separates the Kennebec and Penobscot River watersheds in Piscataquis County. Now it will be forever open to the public for recreation.
“More and more lands along rivers and lakes in other states are gated and posted. These easements ensure the land is open,” Karin Tilberg, the president of the Forest Society of Maine, said Tuesday.
Though the size of the parcel is far from the largest the nonprofit manages, it is unique for its owner — Exemplary Forestry Management, a start-up timberland management company.
The firm pools investments and delivers value to them by promising to abide by certain conditions — like allowing for public access. This runs in tandem with the company’s management of the timber resources of the land.
“We’re striving to provide benefit [to] investors and provide for the local community,” Brian Wentzell, the executive director of Exemplary Foresty Management, said.
In the Scammon Ridge easement, the company agreed not to build any structures, engage in mining, or subdivide the land. The permitted uses are limited to forestry, recreation, research, and Wabanaki cultural activities.
Tilberg believes this arrangement — mixing a for-profit operation with public use, will have positive impacts in the long term.
“[Easements are] holding on to an economy that Maine people depend on, forest and outdoor recreation,” Tilberg said.
Support from the community has been strong for this project as well. Craig Watt, who lives near Scammon Ridge, helped raise $200,000 to buy the easement from Exemplary Forestry Management, through his group “Friends of Wilson Pond.” His success surprised him.
“We were very pleasantly surprised by the level of support from the community both in Greenville and the Moosehead area,” Watt said.
With the easement in hand, development on the land will not ever go forward, even if the land changes hands.