Bridgton, ME. Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) is pleased to announce an expansion of their Crooked River Forest at Intervale with the purchase of 38 acres of forested land in Harrison. The acquisition brings the total acreage of the conserved forest there to 334.
The Crooked River Forest at Intervale allows public access for hiking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling (on designated trails), skiing, and mountain biking. Preventing future development along the Crooked River through forestland conservation will ensure public access for recreation on the river and its surrounding forests.
“Protecting the Crooked River and local forests is critical to the health of rural economies in western Maine,” said Matt Markot, LELT Executive Director. “Conservation land in this area sustains and creates jobs in tourism, outdoor recreation, and forestry.”
In addition to protecting important wildlife habitat and providing recreation opportunities, this land purchase is a big deal for clean water in southern Maine.
The Crooked River is the largest tributary into Sebago Lake, Maine’s second largest lake and the primary source of clean drinking water for 200,000 people – one-sixth of all Mainers – who live or work in 11 communities in the Portland area. Protecting forestland along the Crooked River has been an important collaborative goal between Portland Water District and Loon Echo Land Trust for many years.
“Sebago Lake and the Crooked River mean so much to so many people,” said Paul Hunt, Portland Water District’s Environmental Manager. “The lake is the water supply for 1 in 6 Mainers and the river is its most important tributary. Together they support one of the few landlocked salmon fisheries in Maine.”
With the forest acting as a natural filter for water, permanently protecting forested areas around the river is vital to maintaining the high water quality of the Crooked River and Sebago Lake. The Crooked River – and larger Sebago Lake – watershed has been identified as a priority for forestland conservation.
Land conservation in the Sebago Lake watershed is the focus of Sebago Clean Waters (SCW), a collaborative initiative formed in 2017. Sebago Clean Waters aims to conserve another 35,000 acres in the Sebago Lake watershed in the next 15 years in order in order to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and the health of fish and wildlife. Local SCW partners include Loon Echo Land Trust, Lakes Environmental Association and the Western Foothills Land Trust. Other SCW partners provided funding for this project including The Nature Conservancy in Maine, Portland Water District, and Casco Bay Estuary Partnership.
Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) is a member supported, non-profit land trust that works to protect the natural resources of the northern Sebago Lake region for future generations. Loon Echo conserves over 6,700 acres of land and manages 31 miles of hiking and biking trails in the towns of Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago. To learn more about Loon Echo Land Trust visit www.lelt.org or call 207-647-4352.
Sebago Clean Waters (SCW) is a collaborative effort of nine organizations working to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and the health of fish and wildlife in the Sebago region through voluntary forestland conservation. SCW’s goal is to protect 35,000 more acres in the Sebago Lake watershed in the next 15 years (to conserve 25% of the watershed). To learn more, visit www.sebagocleanwaters.org.