BANGOR, Me. (March 10, 2022)—The Open Space Institute (OSI), Northeast Wilderness Trust (NEWT), and the Forest Society of Maine (FSM) today announced the successful conservation of 21,300 acres in western Maine. The “Grafton Forest” project, which has been identified as highly effective at storing carbon and providing habitat in the face of climate change, also marks the first conservation victory in the Northern Appalachian focus area of OSI’s groundbreaking Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund (ALPF).
The Grafton Forest project spans 21,300 acres, including the protection of 6,045 acres which NEWT has now established with the support of OSI's ALPF as the Grafton Forest Wilderness Preserve. OSI’s $18 million ALPF targets land protection along the Appalachian Mountain range, a region which contains the world’s largest broadleaf forest, stores most of the nation’s forest carbon, and provides essential climate refuge for plants and animals.
"The successful conservation of Grafton Forest Wilderness Preserve is a resounding achievement in the long-term effort to protect the forests of the Northeast’s Appalachian Mountain region in the face of a changing climate," said Jennifer Melville, vice president at OSI. "This phenomenal conservation project also protects some of the most spectacular scenery and finest remote hiking in Maine from second home development pressures. We thank the Northeast Wilderness Trust for their efforts in securing this critical forest on behalf of the people of Maine.”
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.