If you’ve seen the pristine waters and lush terrain at Maine’s Bald Mountain Pond, you’d understand why National Park Trust (NPT) worked with The Trust for Public Land (TPL), National Park Foundation (NPF), Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), The Conservation Alliance, and Elliotsville Foundation on the acquisition of an adjacent 1,495-acre parcel of old-growth woodland to benefit the National Park Service’s Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT).
The remoteness and scenic views make the property an iconic destination for backcountry adventures that combine paddling and hiking on the AT into a single day’s outing. Preserving this land from development also protects the nearby Bald Mountain Pond which is one of the few bodies of water that holds landlocked arctic char in the lower 48 states. The federally-listed threatened Canada Lynx also roams nearby, along with moose, fisher and black bears. It is one of the largest 150-year-old forest blocks in central Maine.
On September 20, 2019, National Park Trust and our partners held a dedication ceremony in Monson, ME to unveil a new plaque that is now displayed in the Monson Maine Appalachian Trail Visitor Center to honor the contributions of two career National Park Service employees, John Kauffmann and Ben Thompson, to the NPS science program.
This land protection was made possible thanks to an extraordinary bequest from John Kauffmann to NPT and the National Park Foundation and wind mitigation funds received by TPL, a generous gift from The Conservation Alliance and grassroots work by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. TPL bought the land and in June 2019 officially transferred ownership to the National Park Service.
NPT board member Elizabeth Ulmer and Howie Thompson, son of Ben Thompson, check out the newly unveiled dedication plaque that is now displayed in the Monson Maine Appalachian Trail Visitor Center.
The National Park Service (NPS) often needs a trusted friend to protect land. It is one of the ways National Park Trust (NPT) works to help our national parks! The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) asked NPT to become the owner of 239 acres of land at Hogan Hollow. It will become part of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail soon.
Thousands of hikers each year see Hogan Hollow from McAfee Knob. The 3,197-foot overlook is thought to be one of the most scenic views on the AT. They say people take the more pictures here than any other place on the Appalachian Trail. This view could dramatically change if someone built on the property or cut trees, which happened on neighboring land. This project also protects a section of the trail which runs through the property.
The ATC was awarded a grant from the Virginia Outdoor Foundation to make the purchase. The funds were a part of a legal settlement between Virginia and a company that wanted to build a pipeline nearby to offset the environmental impact of construction. The Conservation Fund managed the sale of the property with the land owners.
NPT Executive Director Grace Lee stated, “We are always willing to provide our expertise and support to benefit national park sites, and are pleased to be able to assist the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and The Conservation Fund in preserving this land for park visitors to enjoy in perpetuity.”
NPT partnered with The Trust for Public Land, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Oblong Land Conservancy in the $2.38 million purchase of 219 acres of wooded land which will become National Park Service property on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The project was the number one priority for NPS nationwide for 2018. Visitors can reach the property by a 2-hour train trip from Grand Central Station in New York City, disembarking at the Appalachian Trail Train Stop. The addition of the property to the AT allows a re-route of the trail, moving it away from the habitat of two endangered species: the bog turtle and New England cottontail rabbit. It also preserves several scenic viewpoints; the land would have been sold for a residential subdivision had it not been acquired for the AT.