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Campaign Launch: Grafton Forest Wilderness Preserve

In Western Maine along the New Hampshire border, the Mahoosuc Range compares only to Mt. Katahdin in its vast, unbroken high-elevation forest. As northbound travelers on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) cross into The Pine Tree State, the green sea of the Mahoosuc Mountains stretches before them.

Northeast Wilderness Trust’s newest land protection campaign is focused on 1,388 acres within this rugged landscape. If we are successful, the Grafton Forest Wilderness Preserve will be a forever-wild refuge within a critical, inter-state wildlife corridor. To make this vision come to life for the benefit of wildlife and people, Northeast Wilderness Trust must raise $1.4 million by December 15, 2021.

Grafton Forest Wilderness Preserve would build on a legacy of wildness in Western Maine. These mountains, also known as the Mountains of the Dawn in honor of the Wabanaki of Maine, or, the People of the Dawnland are some of the first mountains to greet the rising sun as day breaks over this continent. It is an area of high conservation importance, and one that the Wilderness Trust has turned its attention to in recent years. This keystone property sits directly between a vast public Ecological Preserve and a future conserved managed woodland. From the proposed Preserve, a few days’ hike north on the A.T. brings one to the outskirts of Northeast Wilderness Trust’s Lone Mountain and soon-to-be-conserved Redington Wilderness Sanctuaries, which cumulatively protect 4,455 forever-wild acres near Bigelow Preserve.

If conserved as forever-wild, this land would protect:

  • habitat for moose, Canada lynx, and other mammals
  • 1,388 acres within a globally significant forest that provides breeding grounds for more than 34 species of birds
  • forest that can store approximately 120,000 metric tonnes of carbon
  • an important viewshed from the Appalachian Trail
  • more than a mile and a half of an official A.T. spur trail, the Speck Pond Trail

With your support, we can reach our goal of raising $1.4 million by the end of 2021 to secure this beautiful landscape for future generations of wildlife and people. You can make a gift to the Grafton Forest Wilderness Preserve here, or by mailing a check to Northeast Wilderness Trust with ‘Grafton Forest’ written in the memo line.

Summer landscapes: Jerry Monkman/Ecophotography

Winter landscapes: Aerial support provided by Lighthawk

Appalachian Trail hikers: Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust