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Open Space Institute Supports Conservation of Western Maine Property for Carbon Storage and Wildlife Protection

WOODSTOCK, ME (Aug. 29, 2022)—With support from the Open Space Institute (OSI), the Mahoosuc Land Trust, the Northern Forest Center, the Forest Society of Maine, and the Town of Woodstock have secured more than 600 acres in western Maine for permanent conservation. Protection of the property ensures the availability of an important local resource for forest carbon storage, secures prime habitat for plants and animals at risk from the effects of climate change, and preserves public access to a popular scenic overlook.

The “Buck’s Ledge” property spans 646 acres and contains three high-elevation peaks and significant wetlands. It provides a refuge for nesting peregrine falcons and plants including the state-endangered American ginseng, the rare Goldie’s wood fern, and Maine’s only known occurrence of bur-reed sedge.

OSI provided funding for the Town of Woodstock to acquire the property through its Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund (ALPF). Launched in 2021, projects supported by the ALPF confront the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change by targeting forested areas along the Appalachian Mountains for conservation. These forests play a critical role in storing most of the forest carbon in the U.S. and providing a haven for plants and animals adapting to the severe effects of climate change.

“The successful conservation of the Buck’s Ledge property is a significant advancement in OSI’s efforts to protect Northern Appalachian forests in the face of a changing climate,” said Peter Howell, Executive Vice President at OSI. “We applaud the Town of Woodstock, the Mahoosuc Land Trust, the Northern Forest Center, and the Forest Society of Maine for their efforts to permanently protect this critical landscape.”

Of the newly protected property’s three peaks, Buck’s Ledge is the most notable. The Ledge features granite cliffs overlooking North Pond and the Mahoosuc and Presidential Mountain Ranges. A six-mile trail running through the property spans Buck’s Ledge and two additional overlooks, Lapham Ledge and Moody Mountain.

Previously owned by a timber investment management organization that heavily harvested portions of its forests, the Buck’s Ledge property was protected after more than 270 Town of Woodstock residents rallied for its conservation.

Under new ownership by the Town of Woodstock, the land’s management will focus on public recreation, protection of the local drinking water supply, and sustainable forest management.

Local educators and students are also contributing to management of the land. Recently, middle school art students conducted and recorded interviews related to Buck’s Ledge, which will be archived at the Bethel Historical Society. Additionally, four unique benches designed and built by local community art students will be placed along the trail.

OSI’s ALPF Northern Appalachian program is made possible thanks to major support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Jane’s Trust, and several New England-focused family foundations.

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