Fall 2018

Spring 2018

East Grand Highlands Trail

The East Grand Highlands Trail: A Community Hiking Project


Print Trail Map Here



Chiputneticook, the Passamaquoddy name for our part of the St. Croix system, literally means “lakes among high hills.” It is an area of profound beauty and topographical interest. While much of the area’s natural beauty is accessible from the water, hiking trails can provide those on foot with an opportunity to experience some of this country.

Additionally, this is a time when education and outreach to the general public and active community involvement are more important than ever. As national trends regarding childhood obesity and nature-deficit disorder suggest, we need as many opportunities as possible for children and families to engage in the great outdoors and create meaningful nature-based memories.

Thus, when the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust was approached by a group from the Danforth area who felt the community could benefit from a trail system for hiking, WWLT staff and volunteers responded to the needs of the community by establishing the East Grand Highlands Trails. The trails became the first hiking area in Danfroth and were initially made possible through the generosity of the David B. Snow Jr. Family Trust, which granted an easement across a scenic portion of its land that overlooks Sucker Lake.

The trail head is on the east side of US Route 1, just south of downtown Danforth and 200 yards north of the Greenland Cove Road. The trail network extends up a hill and then splits to both circumnavigate Sucker Lake to the right (Sucker Lake Trail, medium difficulty, 1.55 miles) and extend further up the mountain to the left (Overlook Trail, easy difficulty, 1.6 miles). Areas constructed by the WWLT exist for picnicking at the Scenic Overlook area, on the shores of Sucker Lake, and on the eastern shores of nearby Greenland Island. A third trail called the Boulder Ridge Trail (medium difficulty, 0.88 miles), which will connect the Sucker Lake and Overlook Picnic areas, is in the process of being constructed and will be completed by the end of 2018.

The Snow family stated that they are “happy to allow the use of the land for the trails so that people can enjoy the natural beauty of the space”. Additionally, Steve Mine, who has driven forward the project for the trust, highlihgts that the trails are built on “a very beautiful area strewn with an abundance of fern covered glacial erratic boulders of all sizes and some areas of majestic old growth timber.”

If you are interested in supporting this exciting project and helping to maintain and extend existing trails, please send a donation to the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust, 2 Grove Road, Forest City, Maine 04413, and note “EGH Trail Project” in the memo section. If you wish to donate your time and services, please send an email to: hikeeastgrandlake@yahoo.com or sgmine@aol.com.



Overlook Trail (Easy)

Overlook Trail








Sucker Lake Trail (Moderate-Hard)

Sucker Lake Trail










Boulder Ridge Trail (Moderate)

Boulder Ridge Trail








From Brookton-
Stay on US-1 North for approx. 9.8 miles
Trailhead parking lot is immediately off US-1 on the right (soon after the Greenland Cove Campground sign). A large trail kiosk and yellow gate is visible.
From Houlton-
Take US-1 South towards Danforth until you arrive in Danforth. Make a left at the stop sign and continue to follow US-1. Stay on US-1 for approx. 3 miles. Trailhead parking lot is immediately off US- 1 on the left.



trail map


sponsors for trail

Winter 2017

Spring 2017

Fall 2016

Comments to SCIWC on Canadian Heritage River Report

March 14, 2012

Messrs. Don Dougherty
Ken Gordon
Co-Chairs, St. Croix International Waterway Commission
St Croix International Waterway Commission
Box 610, Calais, ME 04619

Re: The St. Croix International Waterway Commission 2012 Canadian Heritage River Report


We appreciate the opportunity through Steve Keith of our Board to share resource information with Chris Barr about the Upper St. Croix-Chiputneticook Lakes area regarding the Commission’s 2012 Canadian Heritage River Report. This work is extremely timely as we believe there is a window of opportunity to permanently protect what remains of all that the Upper St. Croix represents. The purpose of this letter is to offer some general observations about the landscape and two related areas of concern; the first is natural character the second, scenic degradation.

Retaining Natural Character
East Grand Lake, in its entirety, is home to hundreds of cottages concentrated in approximately ten distinct but widely separated mixed residential/commercial neighborhoods. These separate and distinct neighborhoods have been incrementally developed, until recent times, near public road access. This clustering, as if planned, has strategically separated highly developed areas from sections of undeveloped shorefront, thus retaining a form of natural character unique to a developed lake. Furthermore, it is this fragile blending of the natural landscape that has for years been the major contributor to the desirability of East Grand for sport fishing and cottage owners alike. We believe further erosion of these natural shoreline areas will result in irreversible declines in the ecological, biological and cultural health of the watershed and risk the long term economic viability of the entire Upper St. Croix area.

Notwithstanding the above, there is one major advantage to addressing land use in the Upper St. Croix, and that is, a majority of the landscape is owned by a small number of landowners. The Crown through it’s acquisition of the former GP lands is the major landowner along the Canadian Shore including lands that abut Monument Brook. While almost all of these lands remain undeveloped, the Crown currently has avenues to change land use from timber to development under certain protocols. Conversely, many freehold interests that border the waterway have undergone a recent increase in development, especially those lands that border the upper part of East Grand Lake.

On the Maine side of the Upper St. Croix the percentage of the developed shore land has remained somewhat constant. However, the existing development footprint has undergone significant upgrades, enlargements, back lot subdivisions and shoreline alterations in response to a sizable increase in year-round and intensive seasonal residential use. The good news here is that most of what remains as undeveloped shorefront also resides with one owner. That owner, The Conservation Fund, recently purchased the former GP lands located in Weston and Orient that border the waterway. We believe they have plans to conserve much of the shore land around East Grand and North Lakes and to protect wildlife habitat along Monument Brook. These two landowners, the Crown and The Conservation Fund must serve as the focal point for the protection of the remaining natural character in this watershed. We strongly urge you to call for the Crown lands to be permanently protected from development and to wholeheartedly support The Conservation Fund efforts in the Upper St. Croix Watershed.

Scenic Degradation
Wind power development in Maine has seen tremendous political, regulatory and public financing momentum. However, one of the apparent flaws in the Maine regulatory system is the lack of proper vetting of specific site locations in the very early stages of wind farm development. This flaw leads to substantial community angst pitting the potential “windfall” of short-term local tax revenue against the long-term stewardship of all of the larger landscape’s natural resources.

We believe one of worst examples of a totally improper location, is the wind farm project proposed for the high land located southeasterly of East Grand Lake in Maine. This project, if approved, would potentially lead to the construction of a long line of 400+ foot high towers situated on a parallel ridge-line 2 miles or less from the Shore of East Grand Lake. A wind farm development at this location would totally dominate the Upper St. Croix landscape. We believe the project would not only destroy the existing scenic qualities and seriously degrade the area’s natural appeal (which is a major contributor to long-term economic health), but also frustrate much of what a Heritage River System should represent. We believe it is critical that this location be found off limits to wind farm development. To that end we urge you to exercise as much influence as possible.

The Woodie Wheaton Land Trust recognizes there is balance and synergy between sustaining the economic well-being of the Upper St. Croix communities in a heavily dependent natural resource economy, and the conservation of the area’s natural, cultural, and historic resources. Now is the time to permanently address that delicate balance. We urge you to pursue your work with these thoughts in mind, and to not hesitate to use us as a resource in this effort.

Thank you.


Elbridge G. Cleaves

xc-C. Barr
S. Keith
–D. Wheaton

Spednic Canadian Shore Partnerships

In 2012 the Land Trust began a multi-year effort to help strengthen the protection of the Canadian Shore. A Cross Border Working Agreement was executed with The Nature Trust of New Brunswick to help facilitate future funding of conservation projects within the International corridor. The relationship with The Nature Trust led to collaborative work on the Department of Natural Resources Protected Natural Areas Program and the Crown Lands Exchange policy. Crown Lands comprise nearly all of the remaining undeveloped shorefront along the upper St. Croix including East Grand in the Province of New Brunswick.

(please check back as this section is currently being re-written )

Woodie Wheaton Land Trust Center

center-artsThe Woodie Wheaton Land Trust Center – was completed in 2009 to serve as the Trust’s business office and meeting facility. Through the generosity of Ruth Wheaton, wife of Woodie Wheaton, came the donation of property.  It was one of the most desirable building sites in the center of the village. We will be eternally grateful for her generosity.

Approximately one-third of the Center’s anticipated project cost became a reality through a major enabling financial contribution by Robert Hector, friend of the Trust.

Between May 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009, 67 contributors, who had never contributed to the WWLT previously, donated $26,088.  to the WWLT Center Construction Fund which satisfied the terms of the C. F. Adams Charitable Trust Challenge and  C.F. Adams kindly sent their $25,000.00 matching grant. In addition, the Maine Community Foundation challenged us to raise $25,000.00 for an Endowment Fund for the WWLT Center. Thanks to the generous gifts of our donors, we met that challenge as well. In January 2010, with the proceeds from both, we established a WWLTC Endowment Fund which will provide income for the maintenance and repairs that are inevitable for a building in the north country.

The landscaping was completed in the Spring of 2010. And through gifts from our generous donors we were able to purchase furnishings for the small meeting room, the office, the kitchen and the guest room upstairs.

In addition to serving as the trust’s new office and meeting facility, the new center provides a base for community outreach, education, field trips ad is available for use by other community groups in Maine and New Brunswick. This new center provides for a new level of professionalism and allows directors a place to meet away from their own cottage porches, living rooms and kitchens taking place into the wee hours which invaded family privacy for fifteen years. “Now those closets cramped with maps and bedrooms stacked with file cabinets have a permanent residence and an organization run on deep seated passion and personal sacrifice is better positioned for the Herculean tasks of conservation, encroachment defense and staunch stewardship of the future” states Director, Art Wheaton.

West Grand Lake

2008 – West Grand Lake – the Trust provided financial collateral to a sister organization, the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, toward the conservation of a 22,000-acre parcel along West Grand Lake.

(Please check back as we rewrite the history of this project. It will be posted soon along with photos from the project)