By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff
Bangor Daily News news story
BANGOR, Maine — The state has acquired 81 acres of undeveloped land with 2 miles of shoreline on northern Moosehead Lake that will connect another state-owned parcel called the Seboomook Unit to the water.
Known locally as Little W. Shoreline, the new parcel is accessible by the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and offers views of the mountains of the 100 Mile Wilderness to the east and the famed Northeast Carry. It is contiguous with the 41,000-acre Seboomook Unit Public Reserved Lands, which were acquired with Forest Legacy Program funds in 2003.
“It’s a great day for the public to have this opportunity to enjoy more safely the north end of Moosehead Lake,” said Karin Tilberg of the Forest Society of Maine, an organization that helped facilitate the sale, which has been in the works for nearly three years. “[The acquisition] has enabled a very cherished area to be stable and open to the public for generations to come.”
There are no structures on the Little W. Shoreline tract, but the Seboomook land, which has road access, has trails and campsites and is accessible on the Moosehead Lake Snowmobile Trail loop. Tilberg said there are plans in place to develop some water-access campsites on the new land as well as to manage the land for sustainable forestry. A celebration of the acquisition is being planned for this summer.
Much of the land surrounding the parcel is owned by Wagner Forest Management, Great North Woods LLC and Plum Creek.
The approximately $895,000 deal, which included the acquisition price as well as legal and environmental assessment costs, closed on Dec. 15. It was made possible by the descendants of Blin W. Page of Skowhegan, who owned land in the area for decades. The descendants sold the property for a price below its appraised value.
“In consideration of the surrounding state-owned lands, we six cousins are pleased to rejoin the shoreline to the rest of the parcel to provide access and use for everyone,” Deborah Sealey, a Page family representative, said in a written statement.
Over time, the acquisition will also be a boost for economic development in the region.
“We are pleased with this project as it opens another door to Moosehead Lake, which at the same time protects its natural beauty, which is the main draw for so many visitors,” said Robert Hamer of the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council.
Tilberg said considerable credit for the deal is due to all four members of Maine’s congressional delegation, who helped secure a $500,000 Forest Legacy Grant that went through a competitive nationwide selection process and required congressional approval. Also contributing to the project were the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Thoughtforms Inc., the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, the Fields Pond Foundation and the Davis Conservation Foundation. Tilberg said there were no state-level taxpayer dollars in the project, though the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry administers the Forest Legacy Program.
The Forest Society of Maine, established in 1984, has helped landowners, families and communities to conserve nearly a million acres of forestland across the state.