Working Forestland Conserved in Appleton
A local family-run business, Robbins Lumber Company, recently donated a conservation easement to the Georges River Land Trust (GRLT) on extensive riverfront and woodland property in Appleton. For the past five generations, Robbins Lumber has been responsibly managing 28,000 acres of woodlands in Maine, and has received several national and state awards for outstanding forest stewardship (National Arbor Day Award and the Austin Wilkin Forest Land Stewardship Award). The property under easement will be exclusively managed for its natural resources, allowing no future development.
With this 89-acre parcel, Robbins Lumber will have another opportunity to demonstrate exemplary management and stewardship on forestland of mixed species including mature examples of ash, white pine and red oak. Later this year, the company will plant Christmas trees in an abandoned field on the property, an integral part of their forest management operations in the midcoast.
Placing land under conservation is familiar to the Robbins family. In 2000, the company sold a working forest conservation easement to the Maine Bureau of Public Lands on 20,068 acres on Nicatous Lake in eastern Maine, a tract that also allows public recreational use. Jim Robbins, Sr., is a firm believer of mixed use for woodland properties, advocating that “conservation of natural resources can go hand in hand with responsible forest management.”
The property in Appleton aptly demonstrates this philosophy. The half-mile of riverfront is home to wading birds and waterfowl, and includes a large 31-acre wetland complex. The riverfront supports wetland grasses, shrubs such as alder, clusters of red and silver maple, red oak, and scattered swamp white oak. It is also a popular destination for fishing and canoeing, noted by Jim Robbins, who fondly remembers catching brook trout along this stretch of the river. It is not uncommon to see eagles using the river to fish and roost.
The Georges River Land Trust is very excited about this partnership with Robbins Lumber to conserve special lands in the watershed. “We always stress the importance of responsible management of landowners’ woodlands in their easements,” said Annette Naegel, GRLT’s conservation program manager, “but this is the first time we have conserved property with a commercial lumber company and we are confident that Robbins Lumber will continue its long history of responsible management. This partnership between the Land Trust and Robbins Lumber is an opportunity to highlight effective conservation of riverfront habitat along with sustainable forest management.”