Volume Five Number Two Late Fall 2001
PINGREE FAMILY AND NEW ENGLAND FORESTRY FOUNDATION CLOSE HISTORIC DEAL PROTECTING 762,192 ACRES OF MAINE FOREST LAND
Conservation history was heralded on March 20 by Maine Governor
Angus King as the New England Forestry Foundation and the Pingree
Family closed the largest forestland conservation easement in
the history of the United States. The deal will protect 762,192
acres from development forever.
The Governor was joined at the State House in Augusta by Steve Schley, President of Pingree Associates, who had earlier signed papers that relinquished the family's development rights, and G. Montgomery Lovejoy III, President of New England Forestry Foundation who presented a check for $28,142,316 to the Pingree Family, the purchase price for the development rights, about $37 per acre.
Larger than the State of Rhode Island,
and three and a half times the size of Baxter State Park, this
conservation easement conserves some of the most spectacular
natural resources in Maine, including the Allagash Lakes and
16 miles along the St. John River. "Today we make history
with a conservation easement of unprecedented scale and magnitude,"
said Governor King. "The protection of over three quarters
of a million acres shows that with the right partners landscape
scale projects are dreams that can come true. Present and future
generations owe a debt of gratitude to the Pingree Family and
the New England Forestry Foundation for the singular vision and
determination that made this possible."
NEFF was founded in 1944 as a non-profit corporation for the
purpose of protecting New England's working forests. Today, NEFF
owns and manages 21,000 acres in 120 demonstration forests and
holds over 50 easements across New England. NEFF promotes sustainable
forestry as a long-term investment and has developed a singular
expertise in assisting landowners to conserve their land while
avoiding or minimizing parcelization.
Steve Schley, President of Pingree Associates, Inc., agents
for the Pingree family, said, "the family is very pleased
to have worked with the New England Forestry Foundation to conserve
this magnificent Maine forestland. Now we can move forward with
our primary objective of managing our forests sustainably and
contributing to the forest economy of Maine." The Pingree
forest is the first in the world to be "Green Certified"
by two independent third party certifiers.
The easement protects portions of the Cupsuptic, Black, Little
Black, St. John, Machias and Aroostook Rivers, as well as Upper
Richardson, Kennebago, Munsungan, Loon, Caucomgomoc, Eagle, Chamberlain,
Allagash, Mooseleuk and Churchill Lakes.
More than forty-five foundations, both large and small, contributed
to the success of the project including The John Merck Fund and
the Merck Family Fund, each of which provided major lead gifts
to launch the fundraising initiative. The Libra Foundation made
the largest single gift from a Maine based foundation. Also,
generous grants were received from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation,
the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Kresge Foundation,
the Sudbury Foundation, the Betterment Fund, the Rockefeller
Brothers Fund, the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund
and the agencies involved with the North Cape Oil Spill (U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, Rhode Island Department of Environmental
Management and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
More than one thousand individuals contributed to the success
of this project including $831.42 from the children at Breakwater
School in Portland, Maine who conducted a penny drive to raise
the funds. In addition, several individuals contributed although
they had never been to Maine and probably never will. "Everyone
who contributed, from five dollars to one million deserve a round
of applause and a hearty thank-you. Without all of you this would
not have worked," said Lovejoy.
Keith Ross, Vice President and Director of Land Protection
for NEFF, who organized and led this initiative, added, "this
is a banner day for the northern forests. With this easement,
future generations can be assured they will have diverse, sustainably
managed forest lands to enjoy forever."
The size of the deal was increased thanks to participation
of the Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Their financial
support and the addition of forested acres from their recent
acquisition added protection for the St John River and Big Reed
Pond while increasing the size of the easement.
In March of 1999, the New England Forestry Foundation and
Pingree Associates announced they had reached agreement on the
terms and cost of a conservation easement. Governor King was
on hand for the announcement, which was widely covered in newspapers
around the country. The project was compared to the country"s
largest conservation easement to date, on over 140,000 acres
in Montana. It was recognized at the time that success of the
Pingree Forest Partnership Project would increase by 50% the
total number of acres in conservation easements nationally. The
New England Forestry Foundation had less than 24 months to raise
the funds before the option for purchase expired.
A broad coalition formed among the state's various conservation, sporting and business organizations to support the purchase of the Pingree easement. Participants included the Forest Society of Maine, Sportsmen's Alliance of Maine, Maine Audubon Society, Northern Forest Alliance, Chewonki Foundation, Maine AFL-CIO, Maine Forest Products Council, Maine Professional Guides, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, Ducks Unlimited, Maine Appalachian Trail Club, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Maine Council of Trout Unlimited, Maine Snowmobile Association, Maine Sporting Camp Association, Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Businesses for the Northern Forest and Maine Tourism Association.
P.O. Box 2118, Augusta, Maine 04338 phone: 207-628-6404 fax - 207-628-5741 email: firstname.lastname@example.org