Recently a request was submitted to the Maine Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) by Weyerhaeuser, a forestland owner in the Moosehead area, to dissolve the terms of the Moosehead Lake Region Concept Plan. The Concept Plan, which was approved by LUPC’s predecessor agency in 2009, re-zoned approximately 17,000 acres around Moosehead Lake for commercial, industrial, residential, and resort development. To date, no development has occurred.
As a result of the Concept Plan a working forest conservation easement was placed on more than 360,000 acres around Moosehead Lake. The Moosehead Region Conservation Easement (MRCE), finalized in 2009, permanently restricts development, sets standards for forest management and other uses of the land, and provides for permanent recreational opportunities. While the MRCE grew out of the Moosehead Lake Region Concept Plan process, any termination or modification of the Moosehead Lake Region Concept Plan does not impact or change the terms of the Conservation Easement.
In addition to the easement, the Plan helped add to and improve the region’s motorized and non-motorized trail systems. For example, public access was granted to more than 80 miles of snowmobile trails, and several hiking trails were built or updated. Like the easement, these positive impacts are permanent. LUPC has indicated its interest in involving the community in planning for the future of areas proposed to be rezoned. The Forest Society of Maine, with strong ties to the Moosehead region, will continue its partnership with the people of nearby communities as they assess the appropriate development and conservation opportunities into the future.