Posts Tagged ‘Tiger Hill Community Forest’

22 Acres Conserved to Expand Tiger Hill Community Forest

Looking north on the Northwest River and Tiger Hill Community Forest. Photo by Allagash Brewing Company.

Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) recently conserved 22 acres of forests and wetlands in Sebago. The land will become part of LELT’s Tiger Hill Community Forest which was conserved at the end of 2019. The now 1,451-acre Community Forest is home to sensitive wildlife habitat, working forestlands, and safeguards the water quality of Sebago Lake – the drinking water supply for one in six Maine residents.

“This land is an incredible gateway to the Tiger Hill Community Forest. In addition to its numerous attributes for wildlife and water quality conservation, cellar holes and stone walls on the property tell the history of a long-forgotten community in the “Folly” area of Sebago. We were so glad to work with the sellers, whose family had cared for the property for generations, to help them achieve their goals of permanently conserving the land and making it available to the public for low-impact recreation,” said LELT Executive Director Matt Markot. 

Part of the 22 acres will be used to create a formal access point to the existing Community Forest. LELT plans to construct a small parking area with a kiosk and trail maps early this summer. A hand-carry boat launch on the newly conserved  property will be formalized to provide better access for kayakers and canoeists to the Northwest River.

Kayaking on the Northwest River.

This latest conservation acquisition for LELT protects critical wetlands and important upland forest associated with the Northwest River, Sebago Lake’s second largest tributary. Additionally, the land supports rare natural communities like a leatherleaf fen, and habitat for critically threatened species like the northern long-eared bat and small-whorled pogonia, a member of the orchid family.

Purchased by LELT at the end of 2019, the Tiger Hill Community Forest property provides public access for a variety of outdoor recreation activities and connects critical forest resources, including an abutting property at Cold Rain Pond that is owned by the State of Maine. The property is home to moose, heron, bobcat and deer. Maintaining this undeveloped and connected landscape helps increase resilience to climate change. The Community Forest property was identified in 2016 by The Nature Conservancy as having exceptional capacity to support wildlife species adapting to the effects of a changing climate. 

Tiger Hill Community Forest is a cornerstone project of Sebago Clean Waters, a collaborative effort of the Portland Water District and eight conservation organizations, including LELT. In addition to protecting Sebago Lake’s water quality, the partnership seeks to support community well-being and the health of fish and wildlife in the Sebago watershed through forestland conservation. 

The Northwest River. Photo by Allagash Brewing Company.

“We’re thrilled that by working together our partnership was able to help expand this community asset that is so important for keeping Greater Portland’s drinking water supply clean. Because forests filter water naturally, conserving land around major Sebago Lake tributaries like the Northwest River helps ensure pure drinking water for over 200,000 Mainers. The abundant recreational opportunities and critical wildlife habitat offered by this additional acreage make protecting it even more special,” said Sebago Clean Waters Coordinator Karen Young.

While still largely rural, Sebago and surrounding towns have experienced more than twice the population growth rate of the state as a whole. LELT’s expansion of the Tiger Hill Community Forest helps maintain the region’s rural character while benefiting the local tourism, outdoor recreation, and forest products industries. According to a 2019 University of Maine study, every $1 invested in forestland conservation in the Sebago region provides up to $8 in community benefits.

Owned by LELT, the Tiger Hill Community Forest is stewarded under the guidelines of a management plan. That plan was drafted with input from community members at a series of public meetings in 2019. Funding for the expansion of the Community Forest was provided by the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Portland Water District, the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Sebago Clean Waters, The Robert and Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation and many other generous families and individuals.

More information on Tiger Hill Community Forest, including maps, can be found here.

Generous Match Offered for All Donations to Finalize Tiger Hill Community Forest in Sebago

Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) have received a generous $100,000 anonymous grant to match new donations for the protection of 1,400 acres of undeveloped land in the town of Sebago.

Fall foliage and the Northwest River near Tiger Hill in Sebago, Maine. Photo by Jerry Monkman // ecophotography.com

To date, we’ve raised nearly $1.3 million to purchase and protect the property. We are seeking to raise an additional $286,000 needed to purchase the property by the end of the year. Once conserved by the trust, the property will be known as Tiger Hill Community Forest, in recognition of the land’s most prominent peak.

The land is to be owned and managed by Loon Echo on behalf of the community. It protects sensitive wildlife habitat and historic working forestland, and will be open to the public for recreation. 

Community members visit the beaver pond located on the property.

“The property is currently used by local community members for hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, snowmobiling, and other activities,” stated the Sebago Board of Selectmen in a letter of support. “Acquiring the property for conservation and recreation will secure these close-to-home recreation opportunities for Sebago residents and visitors.”

While still largely rural, Sebago and surrounding towns have experienced more than twice the population growth rate of the state as a whole. Conservation of natural areas like the Tiger Hill Community Forest will help to maintain the region’s rural charm while benefiting the local tourism, outdoor recreation, and forest products industries.

We are partnering with TPL in the fundraising effort to acquire the property. Both LELT and TPL are partners in Sebago Clean Waters (SCW), a partnership working to conserve 35,000 acres in the Sebago Lake watershed to protect the water quality of Sebago Lake, the water source for over one-sixth of Maine residents, many visitors, and businesses in the greater Portland area. Portland Water District (PWD), who is also a partner in SCW, has pledged $345,000 towards the project. The Maine Drinking Water Program is providing a low-interest loan to PWD to fund its contribution.

Sebago community members attend a community planning meeting.

“Tiger Hill Community Forest provides countless public benefits, including protection of drinking water for a sixth of Maine’s population. Its forests act as a filter, purifying water as it flows into rivers, streams, and, ultimately, Sebago Lake. Conserving this forest means Mainers will enjoy the benefits forever. We are excited for the residents of the town of Sebago and will continue to support projects like this in the Sebago Lake watershed.”

Paul Hunt, PWD Environmental Manager

We have raised approximately 80% of the funds for the project, but need to raise another $286,000 to complete the purchase and care for the land forever. Donations of any amount to the project will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the matching grant. For example, a $10 donation towards the purchase becomes $20, $50 becomes $100, and $1,000 becomes $2,000. 

Donations to support Tiger Hill Community Forest can be made online here, or sent to 8 Depot Street Suite #4, Bridgton, ME 04009.


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 7,000 acres of land and manages 31 miles of hiking and biking trails in the towns of Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. TPL has protected nearly 200,000 acres in Maine and has helped more than 30 towns acquire and create Community Forests. To learn more, visit tpl.org/our-work/maine.

Sebago Clean Waters (SCW) is a collaborative effort of nine conservation organizations working to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and fish and wildlife habitat in the Sebago region through voluntary forestland conservation. SCW’s goal is to protect 25 percent (35,000 more acres) of the Sebago Lake watershed in the next 15 years. To learn more, visit sebagocleanwaters.org.