WHITING, ME (April 4, 2017)--The Open Space Institute (OSI), Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) and The Conservation Fund today announced the conservation of 2,352 acres for the protection of sensitive wildlife habitat and exemplary wetlands. And now, thanks to its protection, the formerly private property and its associated lakeshore are officially open to the public.
OSI’s support for the project came from its Transborder Fund, the only private fund conservation land for cross-border wildlife migration along the US-Canada divide.
“OSI’s Transborder Fund invested in protection of Rocky Lake because it will benefit so many species – river herring, brook trout, bald eagles and migratory ducks – that move freely between the US and Canada,” said Jennifer Melville, vice president and OSI. “We need to work now to conserve the last wild places remaining on both sides of the US-Canada border. OSI congratulates MCHT and The Conservation Fund on this important achievement.”
“Conservation of this significant parcel at Rocky Lake will deliver many benefits to the local community, including creating public access for recreation, assuring a healthy and sustainable ecosystem in the region, and strengthening the natural resource economy,” said MCHT President Tim Glidden. “We are grateful to The Conservation Fund and all those who are helping make permanent public access to this land a reality.”
The property is on the shores of Rocky Lake, Orange Lake and the Orange River in the town of Whiting, ME. It is almost entirely undeveloped, and includes six miles of scenic shore frontage. The Conservation Fund purchased the property in 2015 with generous support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and Keith Campbell Foundation, at the request of MCHT to help provide time for the groups to raise the permanent funding necessary. The property has now been conveyed to MCHT for permanent stewardship.
The project also protects the water quality of Rocky Lake, which is a critical part of the Orange River watershed. A partnership of local, state and regional groups including Downeast Fisheries Partnership are working on restoring fish migration in the watershed, which will create a source of high-quality bait, help restore coastal ground fish populations, and provide more income for local fisherman.