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Kennebec Highlands

Kennebec Highlands

Guidelines for Use of LMF Properties

Walking/Hiking Wildlife Observation/Study Cross-country skiing/Snow-shoeing Horseback Riding Dog-Walking Mountain Biking Fishing Hunting/Trapping Snowmobile Trails Canoeing/Kayaking 

Project Description

From the highest points in the Kennebec Highlands, a 6,400-acre expanse of wooded hills and wetlands just north of Augusta, one can see to the White Mountains, Mount Katahdin and the Camden Hills. Foreground views encompass the beautiful Belgrade Lakes and vast stretches of contiguous forest land – broken only by an occasional blueberry field, marsh or stream. This extensive open space supports many species with a large range, including moose, bear, coyote, bobcat, and fox.

Lying at the heart of central Maine, the Kennebec Highlands offers an array of backcountry activities within 15 miles of Augusta, Waterville, Skowhegan and Farmington. Until this land was protected, residents in this part of Maine had to travel considerable distances to gain access to extensive public recreation lands. Now the Kennebec Highlands provides five undeveloped ponds (a resource highly valued by anglers in central Maine) and more than half a mile of frontage along Long Pond. More than 18 miles of old logging roads and informal trails traverse the Highlands, providing hikers, mountain-bikers, horseback riders, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers with opportunities for extended outings. Plans are underway for picnicking areas, a system of remote campsites, and an Environmental Education and Visitors Center (located on Long Pond). The Kennebec Highlands will be a wonderful natural laboratory for area schoolchildren and students from Bates, Unity and Colby Colleges and the University of Maine at Farmington.

The effort to protect this exceptional preserve began in 1999 just as pressures from encroaching development were beginning to fragment large land tracts in the area. The Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance (BRCA) raised the local match needed to receive a generous grant from the Land for Maine's Future (LMF) Program. In the intervening years, with help from another LMF grant, BRCA has met its goal of protecting the entirety of the Kennebec Highlands, and is now working with the Maine Department of Conservation to improve public access opportunities.