In 2015 the High Peaks Alliance celebrated the completion of the Orbeton Stream project. The parcel, which consists of roughly 5,800 acres of working forest, will remain in the ownership of Linkletter Forest Lands LLC. The High Peaks Alliance had worked as a local partner to the trust for Public Lands, who helped to protect the land with a conservation easement.
The easement was made to ensure a continued source of sustainable forest products and guarantee public access for hiking, snowmobile and ATV riding, and more. The parcel is home to a section of HPA’s own Fly Rod Crosby Trail and abuts a six-mile section of the Appalachian Trail.
The celebration took place at the Phillips Area Community Center in Phillips, Maine. Those in attendance, included U.S. Senator Susan Collins, U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Arthur “Butch” Blazer, and Ben Tucker, the Regional Representative for U.S. Senator Angus S. King. A number of State and local representatives were in attendance (Senator Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, and Rep. Russell Black, R-Wilton, among them) as were representatives of the many conservation groups who were involved with the Orbeton Stream project.
The Orbeton parcel features outstanding high-elevation vistas, pristine mountain streams, an ample road system, and recreational use and opportunities for ATVs, snowmobiles, cross-country skiers, hikers, hunters, birdwatchers, and fishermen.
This beautiful, wild expanse of land was specifically indicated by Peter S. McKinley, a conservation biologist at The Wilderness Society, as of critical importance as Maine enters a new era of climate change, forest products industry upheaval, and an aging demographic. McKinley’s ecological study of the High Peaks for the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust led to a growing understanding of the importance of this area and to the creation of the High Peaks Initiative.