Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust receives conservation easement gift

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RANGELEY – For years, Robert and Janet Bissell considered permanently conserving their 40 acres of land at Bemis, but were unsure about how to make that happen. Preserving habitat for wildlife and native plants and supporting efforts to combat climate change was paramount to their goals. Luckily, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust was able to help.

In January, Robert and Janet reached out to RLHT to learn how to conserve their land and accomplish this goal. Impressed by their enthusiasm and zest for conservation, the RLHT supported the Bissells through the process, helping them meet the federal, state and local requirements for a conservation easement.

“We look forward to many years of a mutually beneficial partnership,” Robert said.

Abutting the Bissell CE to the south is another 40-acre CE, donated to the RLHT in 1994 by Eric Werthman and Polly Howells. The State of Maine, Bureau of Parks and Lands owns lands abutting the Bissell parcel to the East, containing 500 acres of public land on both sides of Route 17 (Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway). In December 2007, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust acquired 512 acres off Route 17, including the famous “Height of Land” lands from the mouth of Bemis Stream to Height of Land, across Route 17 and alongside the Appalachian Trail. Together, these parcels connect some of the most iconic scenic, natural resources in western Maine.

Together, the Bissell Family and RLHT have made a commitment to conserve their land for generations to enjoy forever. RLHT Executive Director, David Miller, is excited not only about conserving this special piece of land but about the Bissell’s notable intention to preserve special forestland for wildlife habitat in the midst of a changing climate.

“The Bissells understand how important it is to conserve critical habitat in the face of a changing climate, and that we all have a part to play,” Miller said.

To learn more about conservation options in the Rangeley Lakes region, please contact either Shelby Rousseau, Deputy Director, or David Miller, Executive Director, at 864-7311 or by visiting rlht.org.

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