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Woodie Wheaton Land Trust

Conserving the Chiputneticook Lakes

Spednic Lake: conserving the entire U.S. shore of Spednic Lake via CE. Photo: Kathy McLaughlin

Outreach: taking the Trust to visit local cottage owners via Grand Laker Canoe.

Contact Information

Main Contact

  • Anna Rickard, Administrative Assistant
  • 2 Grove Road
  • Forest City, ME 04413
  • Phone: 207-448-3250 |  FAX: None
  • Email:

MLTN Member

Mission Statement promote the protection, preservation, and conservation of land and water in the Chiputneticook Lakes region of eastern Maine for the benefit of the general public.


Northern Washington and southern Aroostook Counties, with focus on the Chiputneticook Lakes region. To include Forest City, Brookton, Orient, Weston, Danforth, Amity, Eaton, Topsfield

Quick Facts

  • Number of Staff: 1.00
  • Membership: 530
  • Annual Meeting: August
  • Newsletter: WWLT Newsletter
  • Acres owned: 11
  • Number of Parcels: 6
  • Acres under Conservation Easement: 12
  • Number of Parcels: 1
  • Founded: 1994

1994: We cost-shared a small lot on Mud Lake and guided its sale to the State of Maine as part of an earlier Land for Maine's Future Board (LMFB) acquisition. This property is currently managed by Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

1995: We actively promoted the conservation of a 500-foot-easement along more than 16 miles of Spednic shoreline conveyed by Baskahegan Company to the State of Maine through LMFB funding. Part of the transaction was the fee simple purchase of seven islands including Walker, Monument, and Woodie Wheaton Islands. One unnamed island has an active eagle’s nest.

1996-1998: We purchased 25-acre Birch Island and Little Birch Island on Spednic Lake, which were threatened by cottage development. We secured major grants from Wildlife Forever and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation with additional help from the Chiputneticook Lakes International Conservancy and many individuals. Birch Island was later transferred to the State with strict deed covenants to protect public use for low intensity outdoor recreation. Little Birch Island remains forever wild under WWLT ownership.

1999: We urged the Province of New Brunswick to maintain the wild character of Crown lands along the entire St. Croix waterway. Upon purchase of Georgia-Pacific woodlands in N.B. in 2001, the Province created a 63,966-acre Protected Natural Area along the east side of Spednic Lake. The WWLT accepted, with forever wild provisions, the gift of Freda Island, lying in the outlet stream of East Grand Lake, as our second island holding.

2001: We completed the ambitious Spednic Lake/St. Croix River Project, protecting a 500-foot-corridor along 50 miles of pristine lake and river frontage in collaboration with the New England Forestry Foundation, the State of Maine, and the St. Croix International Waterway Commission. This $3 million project was conceived and nurtured by the WWLT and brought to fruition with the help of many individuals and organizations. The WWLT retains an easement along 15 miles of Spednic Lake’s western shoreline, now owned by the State of Maine.

2003-2005: We actively participated in the Downeast Forest Conservation Easement spearheaded by NEFF and the Downeast Lakes Land Trust (DLLT) to extinguish development on 315,000 acres of working forest in Washington County. The easement protects 6500 feet of shoreline on East Grand Lake, commercial forest abutting conserved lake frontage, and 155 acres of land in Forest City.

2006: Our East Grand Lake Watershed Initiative (to conserve a 5,000 acre forest tract with 20+ miles of waterfront along East Grand Lake) included an extensive land use and market analysis of the subject property, contact with partner organizations, the commercial landowner and a community outreach program to develop and solicit public support for a future conservation effort. Several of our directors visited local cottage owners via canoe.

The land trust targeted additional properties and approached those land owners regarding our interest in working to develop a viable conservation option for their property. These properties include the Castle Road landing site on Spednic Lake, the Forest City landing site on Spednic Lake, lands along the Thoroughfare, the headwaters of East Grand Lake and other lake front lands in the Town of Orient along East Grand Lake.

We started to plan for the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust Conservation Center and to build the land trust’s capacity for addressing future land conservation needs.  (Completed in the summer of 2009, the WWLTC is a 2,000 sq. ft. building where we conduct the business of the land trust and offer environmental interpretation opportunities. The building is also available for use by other community and area organizations.)

We developed an official newsletter as a tool to inform members about our activities, offer organizational transparency, and bring to light important conservation needs and opportunities. To ensure the future effectiveness of our organization we began a strategic planning effort in December 2006.

2008: The WWLT provided financial collateral to the Downeast Lakes Land Trust of Grand Lake Stream for it's project to conserve a 22,000 acre parcel of land along West Grand Lake. For ten weeks during the summer, we hosted two graduate student interns who were charged with visiting many shore front camp owners to familiarize them with our East Grand Watershed Initiative ... a process to develop a base of members with whom we hope to develop a strategy to conserve and preserve all undeveloped shores on the northern Chiputneticook Lakes of East Grand Lake and North Lake along with contributary waters of The Thoroughfare, Deering (Longfellow) and Brackett Lakes.

2009: The construction phase of the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust Conservation Center was completed and its large meeting room was dedicated to the memory of Burton Gwirtzman, a long time friend, director and benefactor. An Endowment Fund was activated and funded for the WWLT Center and, with a major bequest from the Estate of Robert C. Hector, an Operations Endowment Fund was activated and funded. A Properties Endowment and a General Operations Endowment Fund were also authorized by the WWLT Board of Directors.

2012: We were excited to execute a cross border working agreement with The Nature Trust of New Brunswick.  Through this, we worked collaboratively on proposed PNA's and understanding Land Exchange Policies on Crown Lands.

2013-2014: Acquisition of Dri-Ki Point from the Baskahegan Company in addition to holding the 12 acre Forever Wild Conservation Easement on Hathaway Island allowed for the further preservation of land surrounding Spednic Lake.  Hathaway Island was generously donated by Dick and Lucy Packert.

PRESENT & FUTURE: The WWLT continues to work to conserve shore and forests on and around East Grand, Brackett, Deering and North Lakes, providing stewardship for previously conserved properties, seeking protection of traditional public water access sites, and exploring new opportunities to protect undeveloped lands on both sides of our international boundary waters border. The WWLT continues to work to educate and inform landowners and the public on wise land management and conservation practices.

Finally , as we continue to wrap-up our current campaigns, new land conservation opportunities are emerging that are huge, one-time and cannot be postponed out of convenience. They will soon dominate our focus and energy.

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