With the rapid spread of development in southern Maine, it is increasingly hard for woodland owners to keep their lands in production. The Jugtown Plains property, located on prime, sandy soils within 25 miles of Maine’s two largest urban centers, was particularly vulnerable. It straddles three of the fastest-growing towns in Maine, which experienced population increases between 150 and 290 percent in the three decades prior to 1990.
Thanks to the vision of Hancock Land Company, and support from The Nature Conservancy and the Land for Maine’s Future program, the State was able to secure a conservation easement on 3,281 acres of contiguous forestland. The Jugtown Plains easement allows for sustainable timber management while preventing development, ensuring continued public recreational access, and protecting and maintaining a rare pitch pine-heath natural community. The Bureau of Parks and Lands at the Maine Department of Conservation now holds the easement.
The project’s contribution to the local forest products economy is matched by its ecological and recreational importance. Jugtown Plains includes Maine’s highest quality pitch pine-heath natural community, which the Maine Natural Areas Program has deemed “critically imperiled in Maine because of [its] extreme rarity.” The easement guarantees permanent public access to the entire property, including more than a mile along the Crooked River—a canoeing river that is among the state’s finest landlocked salmon-fishing rivers.
Snowmobiling is popular in the area, and several key trails cross the Jugtown Plains property. Trails through the extensive woodlands are also used by horseback riders, many of whom come from a nearby horse farm.
Southern Maine – York, Cumberland
Directions from nearest town
DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer Map 5, A-1. From the Pike Corner intersection with Route 121 in Casco, go 2.25 miles west on Route 11. Take a right onto Edes Falls Road and go to the intersection at Edes Falls. From that point, two dirt roads lead into the site: one heading east along the property’s southern boundary and another heading north into the center of the site.