My friend Karin Tilberg and I have a lot in common. Karin is executive director of the Forest Society of Maine. We both recognize Maine’s incredible forest resource for its economic contributions, recreational opportunities, history, and beauty/spiritual solace. We have worked together over the years to find pathways to bring meaningful conservation to Maine’s great North Woods.
But that’s not all we have in common. Karin’s husband Chris has ALS, as I do, so we are sharing this difficult journey. It was especially nice to visit with Karin and Chris at the ALS fundraising walk in Bangor on August 24.
Today I want to share with you some impressive information about the forest society of Maine. Here it is.
* The Forest Society of Maine (FSM) is considered a statewide land trust with a strong focus on Maine’s North Woods, an area comprising approximately 12 million acres. FSM may be the largest land trust in the United States in terms of numbers of acres of conservation easements held.
* Since becoming a staffed land trust in 1997, FSM has helped conserve 1,084,429 acres of forestland (95% of which involved conservation easements). Found within these conserved lands are 179 lakes and ponds, 1,706 miles of streams, and 25 mountain summits. Their easements are typically multi-faceted ensuring ongoing forestry, recreational opportunities and conserving special ecological and cultural features.
* FSM’s conservation projects permanently ensure these lands will remain undeveloped and remain supportive of Maine’s forestry and tourism industries. FSM stewardship staff of 3 oversee more than a million acres of easement lands—a combination of FSM held easements and those of other land trusts like TNC.
* FSM is currently working on some exciting new projects with three different landowners – Wagner Forest Management, a family ownership, and Irving Woodlands, on easements that total around 50,000 acres.
Karin says she is proud of the many and varied relationships FSM has developed through their land conservation and stewardship programs and the work they do to link land conservation to economic well-being for Maine’s rural communities. FSM has a satellite office in Greenville and is strongly connected to the region through the Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Corporation, Moosehead Trails, and property that FSM owns called Nickerson Tree Farm.