Cooperatove Conservation Project

Pingree Forest Partnership

Conserving Maine’s North Woods

Location: Northeastern/Mid-Atlantic Region: Maine

Project Summary: A landscape level conservation easement created to sustain working forests while protecting forest resources for wildlife, fisheries, migratory birds, and local economies.
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A fishermen samples some of the more than 2,000 miles of streams and rivers protected by a conservation easement.
Resource Challenge
Maine’s North Woods are under increasing pressure from subdivision and ecological fragmentation. Because of rising land values and substantial changes in forest industry land ownership, millions of acres of forestland have changed hands during the last decade.

The Pingree Forest partnership was established to provide long-term protection to private forest lands on a landscape scale, to promote sustainable forestry, and to protect extensive areas of lakes and wetlands critical to the Maine North Woods ecosystem.


Examples of Key Partners

Pingree Family (more than 100 members), New England Forestry Foundation, Seven Islands Land Company, Forest Society of ME, Sportsmen’s Alliance of ME, ME Audubon Society, Northern Forest Alliance, ME AFL-CIO, ME Forest Products Council, ME Professional Guides, Natural Resources Council of ME, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, Ducks Unlimited, ME Appalachian Trail Club, ME Coast Heritage Trust, ME Council of Trout Unlimited, ME Snowmobile Association, ME Sporting Camp Association, ME State Chamber of Commerce, Businesses for the Northern Forest, ME Tourism Association, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Non-profit and private financial contributors included the Sudbury Foundation, Sewall Foundation, Bayard Henry, Frank Hatch, Merck Family Fund, Libra Foundation, Kendall Foundation, Betterment Foundation, and others.

Results and Accomplishments

The Partnership acquired a 770,000 acre conservation easement on the Pingree Forest – the largest such easement in United States history. The New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) purchased the development rights from the Pingree family in perpetuity at a cost of just $37.10 per acre. NEFF is responsible for monitoring the easement.

The easement, which covers 3% of Maine’s land, will help protect:

  • 2,000 miles of stream and river shoreline
  • 100 lakes and ponds with 215 miles of shoreline
  • 72,000 acres of wetlands
  • 24,800 acres of managed deer yards
  • 12,624 acres of high mountain habitat above 2,700 feet

The easement also includes sites for five endangered plants and 67 state-listed rare or endangered plants, five bald eagle nests, peregrine falcon nesting sites, and numerous other wildlife species and plants.


The New England Forestry Foundation took the unprecedented step of establishing a $1 million monitoring endowment.

Project Contact
Chris Pryor
Conservation Easement Coordinator/Forester
New England Forestry Foundation
PO Box 1346, 32 Foster Street
Littleton, MA 01460
(978) 952-6856 x107



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