Forests and Lakes – For People – Forever ®

Big Sand Beach Campaign

At the southern end of Lower Sysladobsis Lake, a pristine shoreline stretches out 1,500 feet. Affectionately known to locals as Big Sand Beach, this 17.6-acre parcel is surrounded by the Downeast Lakes Community Forest. After 30 years of private ownership, this remarkable property has become available for purchase.

Conservation Importance

Big Sand Beach has a remarkable shoreline, recreational and historical significance, and a high-quality wetland ecosystem that make it unique within the region. The property is part of a 1.2-million-acre corridor of contiguous conserved land. The corridor stretches from Nicatous Lake in Hancock County to the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. Big Sand Beach is the historic landing site for watercraft portaging from Sysladobsis Lake in the St. Croix Watershed to Fourth Machias Lake in the Machias River Watershed. The Passamaquoddy Tribe recognizes its significance as a canoe route for millennia. This portage is part of the Eastern Maine Canoe Trail connecting Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Tribal lands.

A brook flowing north, from Fourth Machias Lake Reserve through the property and into Sysladobsis Lake, bifurcates the parcel and creates a large wetland. The wetlands are identified as Freshwater forested/shrub wetlands by the National Wetland Inventory map. One vernal pool and its critical habitat buffer lie entirely within the property. The property contains significant acreage of Wildlife Wetlands (Beginning with Habitat).

The parcel is prime real estate and public access is threatened by subdivision and private camp development. While it has been privately owned, access to Big Sand Beach has been informally permitted for generations as a destination for picnicking, swimming, and other activities. Sweeping views of the lake and surrounding islands lends significant recreational value. The potential sale for private home development threatens to limit or eliminate that traditional access for all residents and visitors to the lake. By purchasing the land for permanent conservation, DLLT can ensure equitable access to the lake, the spectacular beach, and the adjacent uplands in perpetuity.  

Site Map of Big Sand Beach

Map of Big Sand Beach

Campaign Goal

Downeast Lakes Land Trust is thrilled to announce a campaign to secure and protect the remarkable Big Sand Beach property! The project’s campaign goal is to raise $440,000 for acquisition and stewardship funding. DLLT is reaching out to public and private conservation groups in support of the project.

Expenses Budget
Land Acquisition   $     300,000
Stewardship Endowment  $     100,000
Overhead  $       24,500
Closing Costs  $         7,000
Pre-acquisition costs  $         6,600
Total Expenses  $    438,100


Donate Today

We need your help to achieve this goal! Giving a gift today will endure for generations as we work together to keep Big Sand Beach a publicly accessible treasure. Donations can be made by clicking the button below and putting “Big Sand Beach” in the note! 

Alternative options to donate are to come in-person, or by mailing a check (noted “Big Sand Beach” in the memo line) to:
Downeast Lakes Land Trust
4 Water St.
Grand Lake Stream, ME 04668

Updated 6/27/2023