Lone Mountain Wilderness Preserve is part of a 170,000-acre forest block that contains numerous ongoing conservation projects by partner organizations, most of which protect lands for timber production and recreational uses.
In 2018, Northeast Wilderness Trust accepted a generous gift of land from lifelong wilderness advocate George N. Appell of Phillips, Maine. In honor of his late wife Laura W. R. Appell (née Reynolds), George gave the Wilderness Trust 1,155 acres to create Lone Mountain Wilderness Sanctuary. “Laura loved the wilderness, the rural areas and the forest of Maine’s North Woods,” he reflected when conserving the land. George passed away peacefully in 2020, and the Appell family legacy lives on in Lone Mountain Wilderness Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary’s namesake summit, 3,280’ Lone Mountain, falls just to the south of the property. The preserved land buffers nearly two miles of the Appalachian Trail corridor, managed by the National Park Service. It is also protected by a conservation easement held by the US Navy, as part of an earlier transaction.
The Lone Mountain Wilderness Preserve compliments this impressive patchwork of conserved lands and adds another much-needed wilderness core area – safeguarding habitat for sensitive species and views from the Appalachian Trail.
The majority of the Lone Mountain Wilderness Preserve is mid-elevation spruce-fir forests and forested wetlands. Other conservation lands belonging to the state border the property on the north and east sides, making the preserve a critical link in connecting the network of already conserved lands in the area.
“Lone Mountain is a keystone for the region. We wanted to turn it into refugia for biodiversity.”
The Lone Mountain Wilderness Preserve lies at the heart of the largest undeveloped ecosystem in the east, known as the Mountains of the Dawn. Spanning more than 5 million acres from the Maine-New Hampshire border to Mt. Katahdin – an area larger than the state of Connecticut – Mountains of the Dawn encompasses an incredible diversity of lowland and upland habitats, from the rocky summits and high elevation bogs of the loftiest peaks in Maine, to floodplain forests nestled in deep river valleys. The Lone Mountain Wilderness Preserve protects habitat for moose, black bear, Canada lynx, and Bicknell’s thrush, among other species.
Conservation of the Lone Mountain property, much of which has been logged in the past, promises a wilder future for this special place. In due time, Lone Mountain’s forests will grow older and the scars of past logging and road building will fade away.
The Preserve is open to quiet, muscle-powered exploration and is best approached via the Appalachian Trail.
Photography by Shelby Perry