Whalesback Easements

Whalesback Easements

The Whalesback forever-wild conservation easements cumulatively protect 3,307 acres in Aurora, ME within the Union River watershed.

This spectacular landscape is protected in collaboration with Frenchman Bay Conservancy. Named for the eponymous glacial esker that runs alongside the Preserve, the Whalesback forever-wild lands are mostly forested, with about a quarter comprising open water and wetlands. The forests are low in elevation, many of them wet. Large boulders strewn about randomly by glaciers are further evidence that this place once sat beneath miles of ice.

A project of the Wildlands Partnership, the Whalesback easements protect some of the Union River’s headwaters: six miles of the Union River’s Middle Branch, more than two miles of Beaver Brook, nearly three miles of Sevenmile Brook, plus 910 acres of wetlands. The undulating ribbons of water and their wetlands unfurl beneath a pull-off on State Route 9, affording people a glimpse of wild beauty from a distance.

These forever-wild lands and their waters provide exceptional wildlife habitat for inland waterfowl, wading birds, brook trout, and many other wide-ranging species.

While there are no trails, the land is open for backcountry exploration. Hunting of abundant prey species and fishing are permitted; the primary access to the land is State-owned boat launch on Route 9 along the Middle Branch of the Union River.

The forever-wild designation means that the forest will be shaped by natural and ecological processes, rather than management or forestry. Over time, the young forest on the land will mature, eventually regaining old-growth status. Rewilding landscapes offer many important benefits such as wildlife habitat, carbon storage and sequestration, clean water, resilience to storms and flooding, and places of solace where people can experience the beauty and peace of wild nature.

Photography by Mike Perlman