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The Woody Wheaton Land Trust sponsored a press tour on September 16, 2009 of their recently opened conservation centre in Forest City and included a canoe trip on Spednic Lake to view the large tracts of land and islands they have been instrumental in preserving in the area.
Highlights of the trip included stops at Mud Lake Falls, the pristine forest with 250 year old trees along the banks of Mud Lake Stream and a stop on Woody Wheaton Island for a hot lunch prepared by the guides over an open fire. The flavour of coffee boiled over an open wood fire was most appreciated by everyone.
Since 1994, the Woody Wheaton Land Trust has preserved more than 4, 100 acres of land, nearly 100 miles of lakeshore and four islands. The most recent acquisition is Greenland Island in East Grand Lake near the town of Danforth, Maine. The island has 3,000 feet of lakeshore frontage and has wonderful recreation and scenic values including a primitive picnicing and camping site.
Threatened by corporate land divestment and increasing development pressure, these successes have secured precious wilderness tracts of land for this and future generations to enjoy. Much has also been achieved to reduce forest fragmentation and protect the traditional sporting economy.
Following more than four years of effort, the Woody Wheaton land Trust celebrated the grand opening of its new conservation centre in Forest City, Maine on August 23, 2009.
According to Paul First, former executive director, the centre gives permanence to the land trust’s commitment to preserve the natural heritage of the Chiputneticook chain of lakes and help to connect conservation with community. The centre provides office and meeting facilities for the land trust, serves as a base for educational outreach and is available for use by other community groups in Maine and neighbouring New Brunswick.
With nearly seventy supporters from Maine and New Brunswick in attendance at the opening, the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust Centre was dedicated in memory of local area fishing guide and lodge owner, Woodie Wheaton. His 93-year-old widow, Mrs. Ruth Wheaton, cut the grand opening ribbon.
Land Trust president Elbridge Cleaves observed that “we see conservation opportunities coming that are huge, one-time, and cannot be postponed out of convenience. The mission of this new building is directly linked to our future successes”. Brothers Dale and Arthur Wheaton expressed appreciation for their mother Ruth’s contribution of the land on which the centre is built.”
This summer the land trust hosted a five-part speaker series at the centre. The programs provided an opportunity for the local people to convene and learn about aspects of their shared heritage as well as conservation and community efforts throughout the region.