An astonishing and unprecedented array of recreational benefits are included Plum Creek’s Moose Region Conservation Easement and Multi-Resource Management Plan.
The 363,000 acre easement – one of the largest in the United States – requires sustainable harvesting practices, protects critical ecological values, and provides guaranteed access for traditional recreational activities. The recreational benefits are the focus of this column.
Private landowners have been reluctant to guarantee recreational access to their property and have strongly opposed establishment of permanent trail easements across their land. So Plum Creek’s leadership on this issue is truly amazing.
The company has given a snowmobile trail easement across 74 miles of the ITS 85/86/88 trail and 7 miles of the ITS 110 trail. The easement was granted to Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands and authorizes the Bureau to maintain the trail for public snowmobile use.
Plum Creek also granted an easement across 12 miles of the northern portion of the Mahoosucs-to-Moosehead Trail system.
Another easement for Moosehead hiking trails, not to exceed 121.8 acres, will be granted to Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands for public non-motorized recreational uses. Five trailhead parking lots in this area will be provided and donated to BPL to guarantee that the public can always access these trails from public roads.
And this is not all that the company has done more.
Plum Creek will give the Bureau of Parks and Lands $1 million for the construction, repair, and maintenance of the trails, the parking areas, and associated trail amenities.
The company will also donate up to 50 acres of land within the easement area to address future not-yet-specified recreation needs identified by BPL.
I want to emphasize that any financial benefits that will accrue to Plum Creek from the development portion of the Moosehead project are many years down the road – yet the company is now implementing all of the recreational benefits listed above – including giving BPL a substantial amount of money, this year, for the agency to use on trails.
These are all unprecedented and generous acts, and deserving of all the public recognition and thanks that we can muster.