The Forest Society of Maine announced the completion of a forest conservation easement on lands owned by Irving Woodlands in the Fish River Chain of Lakes region in Aroostook County, Maine. This permanent easement, encompassing some 16,900 acres, is strategically located to provide natural resource protections for the lands around Mud Lake, Cross Lake, and Square Lake—known to many as the Fish River Chain of Lakes. Going forward the Forest Society of Maine has the responsibility of stewarding the permanent working forest conservation easement.
“These lands support many conservation values including diverse plant and wildlife habitats, including streams that are home to brook trout, rainbow smelt, and landlocked salmon,” stated Karin Tilberg, Forest Society of Maine President/CEO. “We are tremendously pleased to have worked with the Irving team and through the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) process to develop a meaningful conservation easement for these lands.”
The conservation easement ensures the forests won’t be developed or converted to other uses not compatible with sustainably managed forests. It protects the majority of the shoreline around Square Lake and Carry Pond and the streams that feed them and requires that all forestry activities are implemented as part of a forest management plan. The easement also creates a permanent right of pedestrian public access on the lands for low intensity outdoor recreation.
The Fish River Conservation Easement was developed during a public process connected with the Lake Concept Plan developed by Irving Woodlands and approved in late 2019 by LUPC. “We are pleased to announce the signing of our Conservation Easement with the Forest Society of Maine as a component of the Fish River Chain of Lakes Concept Plan,” said Anthony Hourihan, Director Land Development of Irving Woodlands, “Responsible, well-planned development will provide new recreational and economic opportunities in Aroostook County while ensuring important conservation values are maintained for the long term. The Forest Society of Maine has been a great partner through this process by balancing the need for conservation with the need to maintain working forest which supports a critical industry in the County.”