Thanks to OSI and the Wyss Foundation, the 4,300-acre Silver Lake property will continue to provide thousands of people every year with opportunities for hiking, camping, and paddling. The pristine forest, contiguous to 70,000 acres of previously protected land, is home to the northern long-eared bat, Canada lynx, and many other species of significance.
To secure the permanent protection of this piece of the North Maine Woods, OSI made a critical and innovative contribution: a million-dollar grant and a $900,000 no-interest loan to the Appalachian Mountain Club.
In 2015, the Open Space Institute was challenged by the Wyss Foundation to identify large swaths of land available for conservation in the Eastern US that abutted existing public land, with an eye toward expanding wilderness in the dense and fragmented part of the country. In just four years, OSI’s Eastern Lands Initiative successfully met this challenge — protecting five large properties totaling more than 37,000 wilderness acres and connecting to nearly 2.7 million acres of protected land. This project was protected as a part of the Eastern Lands Initiative which continues to practice largescale conservation in the Eastern US.
The OSI loan was repaid through the sale of the carbon credits, representing one of the state’s first land acquisition projects to harness the California cap-and-trade market, a proactive policy tool in the national effort to address climate change. As a result of OSI’s contribution, at least 100,000 tons of carbon stored in the property’s forests are now protected, forever.