The Flint Mountain Wildlands will be a modest first step to demonstrate how undeveloped and minimally managed lands play an essential role in forest ecosystems. The land will serve as a benchmark to understanding the benefits of wildlands within a landscape of managed forestlands. The land contains large hardwood stands containing abundant red oak approximately 100 years in age and pasture oaks of very significant girth possibly dating back well into the 1800s when the land was actively farmed. There has been little or no harvesting in recent decades on much of the acreage. MLT believes the lands are thus well on their way toward healing and restoration from human impact. The property’s wildland status will also protect state-identified wild brook trout habitat on streams that feed the Crooked River.
Sebago Clean Waters, a coalition of ten organizations, including Mahoosuc Land Trust, contributed funding. “This project is an important part of a broader vision to create an expanse of conserved lands in the Sebago Lake watershed to protect drinking water, wildlife, and quality of life. Each time we add a piece of protected land to the puzzle, these impacts deepen,” said Karen Young, partnership director of Sebago Clean Waters. Sebago Clean Waters founding member Portland Water District provided additional funding. “The Portland Water District supports the work of Mahoosuc Land Trust because Sebago Lake, our source of drinking water, is downstream of the forests they conserve,” said Paul Hunt, the District’s environmental manager. “These woods naturally treat the water our customers drink and this property will remain wooded forever. This means cleaner water, healthier fisheries, more habitat for animals and birds, and outdoor recreation opportunities for residents and visitors—all things that make Maine “the Way Life Should Be.”
Critical funding also came from donors to MLT’s Ken Hotopp Wildlands Fund, inspired by and in memory of MLT board member and volunteer, Ken Hotopp, a naturalist, conservation biologist, and defender of wilderness and the climate. Landowner Ken Wille of Albany Township made the transaction possible through a generous bargain sale to MLT. Maine Mountain Collaborative provided additional funding as part of its goal to conserve both well-managed forests and ecological reserves.