Madrid timber land protected under easement

MADRID – Nearly 5,800 acres of timber land around Orbeton Stream has been permanently protected for logging, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and other recreational activity, following the purchase of an easement by the state of Maine.

The Trust for Public Land, a land conservation group based regionally in Portland, announced that an easement had been purchased by the state from landowner Linkletter Timberlands for $1.6 million. That easement covers 5,774 acres of forested land in northern Madrid, clustered around the Obeton Stream, and encompasses 6.4 miles of popular snowmobile routes 84 and 89, both portions of the state’s Interconnected Trail System. It is the largest working forest parcel in the township.

This map, created by The Trust for Public Land to describe land conservation projects in the region, shows the Oberton Stream area in pink.
This map, created by The Trust for Public Land to describe land conservation projects in the region, shows the Orbeton Stream area in pink.
The easement allows Linkletter Timberlands to continue to own and manage the woodland, using it to supply its pellet mill in Athens. The easement requires that Linkletter never subdivide or develop the acreage.

The 5,800 acres of protected land will tie into preexisting easements to create a 77,000-acre block of conserved land in the High Peaks region. Hunting, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling and riding ATVs are all popular recreational activities in that region.

“Keeping forests as forests benefits all of us by safeguarding recreation and access important to Mainers, and as a source of timber to fuel the state’s economy,” said Wolfe Tone, Maine State Director for The Trust for Public Land, in a statement released today.

“Protection of Orbeton Stream will ensure that a vital snowmobile and ATV corridor that connects the regions communities and businesses will continue to be open to the public forever. These trails are critical to the economic development of these towns,” said Don Whittemore, member of the North Franklin Snowmobile Club and Narrow Gauge Riders ATV Club.

The $1.6 million cost of the easement was paid for through a $1.28 million grant out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Legacy Program which is administered in this state by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The Forest legacy Program is funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund and gets its money from offshore oil and gas revenue. According to Tone, another $150,000 was from the Land for Maine’s Future Program and additional money was provided by the Open Space Institute, Wildlife Conservation Society, Fields Pond Foundation, Hopwood Charitable Trust, John Sage Foundation, and many generous private donors.

Orbeton Stream is home to Atlantic salmon. Seven years ago, because of restoration work by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, salmon reared in the Orbeton watershed returned from the North Atlantic Ocean for the first time in more than 150 years.

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land, with the stated goal of ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Nearly 10 million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. For more information about The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit http://www.tpl.org.

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