Headwaters Forest Acquisition
In 2018, Woodie Wheaton Land Trust (WWLT) purchased 3,055 acres of former timber industry land, located along Monument Brook in the headwaters of the St. Croix River watershed. This acquisition was crucial to maintaining valuable wildlife habitat, protecting water quality in the East Grand Lake watershed, and preserving public access for traditional use.
We are excited to announce that in the Fall of 2020, WWLT successfully purchased an additional 919.5 acre parcel in the headwaters. This new parcel has many benefits.
East Grand Headwaters
The Woodie Wheaton Land Trust is pleased to announce a significant land acquisition within the East Grand Lake Watershed. The Headwaters Project will conserve 3,055 acres and many of the brooks and streams that nourish this clear water system. The lands border 9.4 miles of Monument Stream in the town of Amity, and have both forested uplands and extensive riparian wetlands along Greenleaf and Glendenning Brooks. Abutting the southern border are 7,486 acres of land originally acquired in the East Grand Watershed Initiative, since conveyed to Maine’s Bureau of Public Lands and managed for its exceptional wildlife habitat.
The East Grand Highlands Trail Project
The Trust was approached by a group from the Danforth area who felt the community could benefit by providing a trail system for hiking. The Greater East Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce and the folks from CORE, a group dedicated to increasing student enrollment at East Grand Lake School (via an outdoor education program) took the initiative and the East Grand Highlands Trail Project was founded in the winter of 2015-16.
In early 2014, WWLT responded to a quickly developing (and probably one-time) opportunity to purchase Dri-Ki Point on Spednic Lake. It's a beautiful parcel with 1041 feet of frontage jutting northward into Spednic’s mid-section, smack in the middle of a vast conserved landscape. This small private parcel, unless conserved, would experience increased development pressure as its value became enhanced by the surrounding conservation land. It is all too common, elsewhere, to see camps built on undeveloped shores, changing the character of a cove or point forever. There is a campsite on the tip, used frequently by guides and canoeists, and it had long been coveted as an acquisition crucial to continued public enjoyment.
For fisherman launching at the Lower Landing, most only notice the north end of the island on the right when motoring out of the basin, and few will remember the private camps on the south end.
The deed to Hathaway Island dated 1931 notes sporting camps belonging to Harry Brooks operating in the 1920's, supposedly for 14 years. The Packerts found remnants of those rustic old buildings and for the last 82 years they have owned Hathaway Island.
Booming Out Grounds
The Booming Out Ground is an old growth forest with Mud Lake Falls, two Native American portages, and a fascinating history of how it was saved from the chain saw. This is the area where the early log drivers established a collection point. The logs, tied together with chains acted as a corral of sorts, so they could be towed down Spednic Lake. In 1994, a 488-acre parcel was brought to the attention of Land for Maine's Future Board and the State of Maine.
In 1995, the Trust quietly promoted a 500-foot easement along more than 16 miles of Spednic Lake shoreline and fee interest which included Walker, Monument, Hairy, Pickle (Woodie Wheaton Island) and 4 other unnamed islands conveyed by Baskehegan Lumber Company to the State of Maine.
In 1996, Dale Wheaton and Mark Danforth witnessed a float plane land on Spednic Lake, and someone stepped out to place a “For Sale” sign on the Birch Islands, always considered the Crown jewel of Spednic Lake. The very thought of the heart and soul of this watershed being "For Sale" sent a ripple through the guide corps. While concern had been growing amongst guides that this lake and for that matter, the region, could be lost to pressures of an ever-encroaching world, immediate action was taken as long time guide Andrew Brooks quoted, "if we have to, we must dig into our own pockets to buy Birch Island." In 1998 a 25-acre purchase of Birch Island and Little Birch Island by WWLT was conveyed to the State of Maine with restrictive deed covenants.
Spednic Lake-St Croix River
Spednic 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.
Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership
2001 to 2005 – Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership – Actively participated in the partnership, spearheaded by the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) and the Downeast Lakes Land Trust to conserve 312,000 acres of forest land in Washington County. The Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership is the largest conservation project ever completed in Washington County, Maine, permanently protecting 445 miles of underdeveloped shoreline on 60 lakes and more than 1,500 miles of river and stream frontage.
The East Grand Watershed Initiative
A five-year effort lead by the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust named the "East Grand Watershed Initiative" was committed to a path of conservation through an outright purchase of fee interest in 2011 by The Conservation Fund. The 12,013 acres of forest and shore lands included a 1,750 acre deer wintering area of state-wide significance, hundreds of acres of high-value wetlands, wildlife and bird habitat, and nearly 30 miles of shoreline along Monument Stream, East Grand Lake, Longley, Deering, North, Sucker and Brackett Lakes.
The Woodie Wheaton Land Trust has purchased scenic Greenland Island, in East Grand Lake. The purchase was undertaken for the benefit of the general public --- for the aesthetic and recreational enjoyment of all lake users. The land trust is committed to preserving the natural character of East Grand Lake for future generations.
Located near the Greenland Point Landing in the Town of Danforth, Greenland Island has long served as a place where local residents and visitors can enjoy a quiet respite under its dense forest canopy, while enjoying the expansive view across the lake. Consisting of over one half mile of rugged, undeveloped, forested shoreline, the island also contributes greatly to the natural beauty of East Grand Lake.
Woodie Wheaton Land Trust Center
The 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.
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 River, including East Grand Lake in the Province of New Brunswick.