- Category: Completed Projects
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New England Forestry Foundation has joined with the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust, the Maine Department of Conservation and Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the St. Croix International Waterway Commission to purchase and conserve, forever, 49 miles of forested waterfront on Spednic Lake and the St. Croix River in Maine. This spectacular corridor on the US/Canada border is recognized internationally for its wildlife, scenic resources and outstanding backcountry recreation.
A 500-foot-deep zone of protection will preserve the natural undeveloped character of one of the most pristine stretches of boundary water in eastern North America. Building upon earlier conservation initiatives by the State of Maine and the Province of New Brunswick, this project will secure the last significant unprotected tracts of land on Spednic Lake and the Upper St. Croix River. When complete, almost 70 miles of protected riparian corridor will support native species and enchant naturalists and recreationists for generations to come.
NEFF has acquired a one-year option (expiring December 30, 2002) to purchase these shores and 3,000 acres of forestland for $2.9 million. The partners must also raise $250,000 for a management endowment and another $300,000 for appraisals, surveys, fundraising and legal fees. We need your help. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the New England Forestry Foundation (or the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust) to support this wonderful opportunity.
Lake of Solitude:
pednic Lake is one of the largest lakes in Maine and one of only four lakes over 15,000 acres in the state that remain largely undeveloped. The absence of development to date has supported one of Maine's last remaining native landlocked salmon fisheries and some of the best smallmouth bass habitat in the United States. Its many islands, fjord-like coves and rising, forested shores offer a stunning setting for fishermen, canoeists and naturalists who ply its sparkling waters to a silence, broken only by the lap of waves and the call of the loon. Native landlocked salmon, smallmouth bass and other prized fish draw many repeat visitors to local sporting camps that take pride in their outdoor heritage, including the guides' continued use of traditional, handcrafted Grand Lake canoes. This project will add 15.8 miles to the protected shorelands on Spednic Lake.
A Heritage Corridor:
Located at the eastern edge of the United States-Canada border, the St. Croix's rich history, scenic beauty, wildlife and recreational resources have led to its recognition as an International Heritage Waterway. More than 32 million people live within a days drive of its shores and each year, visitors from across North America and abroad, travel its waters. Careful management and the form of protection offered by the project will ensure that this semi-remote wilderness area will remain undeveloped and unspoiled forever.
A Recreationist's Paradise:
The upper St. Croix River is one of the most undeveloped major river corridors in the northeastern United States, offering some of the region's premiere backcountry canoeing waters. Paddled by nearly 5,000 people each year, the St. Croix's winding course and near-wilderness setting keep the river uncongested and parties well-separated. It is a favorite of families, outdoor camps and others who wish to combine paddling, wildlife viewing and, for many, overnight camping. The most popular trip is the 20-mile section from Vanceboro to Loon Bay. With its mix of slow and fast water (Class I-II) it is ideally suited for canoeists of all skill levels. This project will protect 33.7 miles of the upper St. Croix River.
Spednic Lake and the upper St. Croix River give haven to a unique concentration of fragile and valued natural resources, including rare flora and fauna, old growth tree stands and an array of migratory birds. The waterway is the prime breeding ground for the state's bald eagle population and a recovering run of Atlantic Salmon. Moose, deer, black bear, otter, beaver, loons, herons, waterfowl and a unique dragonfly all share its shores and waters. Rare and uncommon plants grow in niche habitats along the banks. Special protection is given to some of these by an ecological reserve on 11 river islands and a newly created 100 square mile Protected Area on the New Brunswick side of the lake.
Flowing Through Time
Archeological sites bear witness to over 10,000 years of human history along Spednic Lake and the St. Croix River. Traditional portage routes and campsites are still in use today. The St. Croix's productive forests, rich fisheries and water highway sustained early native people and supported later settlers who built the communities and resource-based economy that remain the area's mainstay. Today, the St. Croix valley is home to 23,000 people including Maine's Passamaquoddy Tribe. Protecting the waterway corridor will help to secure the natural and working heritage that these residents share and continue to make it available to visitors who come to appreciate its unique character.
The Conservation Imperative:
Your help is needed to assure the protection of these treasured resources. The landowner, Wagner Timber Partners, LLC, has given the New England Forestry Foundation an option to purchase the property. NEFF must raise $3.5 million by December 2002. The State of Maine has committed over $1 million and the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust is attempting to raise $100,000.00 from local sources. Your contribution can help guarantee the protection of this extraordinary waterway this year.