In purchasing the 15,408 acres in Western Maine, the nonprofit intends to protect the historic forestland from both development and fragmentation while also honoring the land’s history. The prized timberland dates to 1634 when England’s King Charles I sent William Chadbourne across the Atlantic on a mission to establish what is widely recognized as the New World’s first sawmill. The Chadbourne family assembled the acreage and worked the land for more than 150 years. “This forestland and its exceptional white pine timber resources reflect decades of long-term stewardship administered by my father as well as generations of the Chadbourne family,” said 11th generation family member Bob Chadbourne. The Conservation Fund intends to sustainably manage the forestland, the fourth largest privately owned forest in the Sebago Lake watershed, which provides key watershed protection to Portland and surrounding areas.
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