With charming lakes, pristine wooded areas, diverse wildlife, and bountiful recreational opportunities, the West Grand Lake Forest offers excellent examples of so much that makes Maine’s nature extraordinary. It is located within a network of more than 1.4 million acres of preserved land that extends all the way into Canada. It shares a border with Farm Cove Community Forest, and the two preserves combine to form the largest community forest in the United States. It also shares a border with lands held by the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Tribes.
The parcel itself houses more than 20,000 acres of intact forests, beautiful lakes, spacious bogs, and granitic hills. The lakes and streams contain populations of brook trout, smallmouth bass, and land-locked salmon (1 of only 4 such populations in the state). Additionally, the forest is inhabited by moose, Bald Eagles, bobcats, beavers, white-tailed deer, and black bears, making it a phenomenal location for wildlife watching.
With the help of funding from the Land for Maine’s Future program, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry purchased a conservation easement on 21,870 acres in the forest. It was aided by the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, who went on to purchase the parcel in 2016 and convert it into a community forest. Conservation efforts in the West Grand Lake Forest have always had a key goal of protecting the area’s economic viability. Preserving the forest’s lands, waters, and wildlife helps ensure that local fishermen, nature guides, and lodging operators will not have their livelihoods threatened by environmentally detrimental practices.
Closest Town: Grand Lake Stream
Activities: Hiking, Hunting, Nature Study, Wildlife Watching, Fishing, Camping, Snowmobiling, Snowshoeing, Bird Watching, Paddling, Kayaking, Canoeing
Region: Downeast Maine – Hancock & Washington
Directions: The forest is accessible via Grand Lake Stream, which can be reached from Route 1 by turning onto Grand Lake Stream Road and following it down for about 10 miles.