Forests and Lakes – For People – Forever ®

Lakeville Expansion Project

The Lakeville Expansion of the Downeast Lakes Community Forest

In 2019, Downeast Lakes Land Trust, working with a group of concerned residents and camp owners, and in collaboration with the Trust for Public Land (TPL), launched an initiative to acquire 2,025 acres in Lakeville Township. The parcel, which is owned by Lakeville Shores, LLC, has more than a mile of undeveloped frontage on the northeastern shore of Sysladobsis Lake. Hosting a variety of wetlands, streams, and forest ecosystems, the property quickly became a conservation priority for Northern New England.

After more than a year of hard work by volunteer committee members and staff from DLLT and TPL, the USDA Community Forest Program has granted The Lakeville Forest Project $600,000 toward the purchase price of the property. The project was ranked the #1 USDA Community Forest Program priority in the nation for the 2020 cycle, and was praised for its deep-rooted community support! This $600,000 grant is a keystone of the project’s fundraising strategy, laying a foundation upon which DLLT and TPL supporters can build in the coming months. We are well on our way to reaching our goal of $2.7 million, and the Lakeville Expansion has become a key component of conservation in Maine. Plans for acquisition include:

  • The Trust for Public Land will be acquiring the land within two years and immediately transferring ownership to Downeast Lakes Land Trust.
  • DLLT will add this tract to the Downeast Lakes Community Forest as the new Lakeville Forest Tract.
  • DLLT will ensure public access and economic opportunity by granting a working forest conservation easement to a third-party holder.
  • The process is being guided by a local advisory committee of Lakeville-area camp owners and residents who will provide ongoing local input on land management decisions.

During the summer of 2020, DLLT and TPL presented at the annual Lakeville Camp Owners Association in Lakeville to discuss the project and outline future stewardship of the parcel.  DLLT staff has also met with local residents and interest groups including the Mt. Jefferson Backcountry Trail Riders and the Quad County Snowmobile Club to discuss stewardship plans for the property, which will continue to be a working forest for wildlife habitat, recreation, and a sustainable forest economy. DLLT staff also led a public tour of the property, highlighting the proposed management of the parcel, along with potential future recreational aspects.

We thank each and every one of the people who have been involved in this process, and we look forward to raising the remaining funds needed to acquire the property in 2021!