Nestled in the heart of Maine’s 100 Mile Wilderness, a national destination for hikers on the Appalachian Trail, the 36,691-acre Katahdin Iron Works property is a critical link in the ongoing protection of this forested region from Moosehead Lake to Mount Baxter. The tract was purchased by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) from International Paper in December 2003 and is located 10 miles from Millinocket. It contains significant wildlife and, together with AMC’s nearby Lyford Camps, provides a backcountry experience for cross-country skiers, hikers and nature enthusiasts.
Purchase of the land is part of AMC’s larger Maine Wilderness Initiative, which seeks to integrate habitat protection, recreation and education in the region. Through the initiative, AMC will create a model of forest land management that accommodates multiple uses, including low-impact recreation, such as hiking and cross-country skiing; protection for important natural areas; and sustainable forestry. The project has been embraced by the local community for its potential to facilitate economic development through eco-tourism and forestry.
OSI provided a $3 million low-interest loan to assist in AMC’s $14.2 million purchase of the land. OSI’s Northern Forest Protection Fund subsequently supplied a $1 million grant to the project.