High Peaks Initiative
A project to protect the unique and special qualities of the High Peaks Region of Maine's Western Mountains
The High Peaks Region is the 230,000 acres in a remote and undeveloped region of Maine's western mountains bounded by the communities of Rangeley, Phillips, Kingfield and Stratton. The area is one of three high mountain regions in Maine and is the only one without significant conservation protection. A series of high mountains and ridges characterize the area including eight of the 14 highest mountains in the state. The High Peaks Region encompasses the largest contiguous mountain area in the state and offers remoteness, wildness and unspoiled natural beauty found few places in the eastern U.S. This area has 40% more land above 2,700 feet than Baxter State Park.
The variety of terrain, diversity of ecological communities, high proportion of rare plants and animals, lack of habitat fragmentation, and its role in landscape connectivity makes this a special place in the state and region—and conservation of this region critical. These lands, which provide a true backcountry experience and support diverse ecosystems, are at risk.
What MATLT Is Doing?
Following the campaign to acquire the ridgeline and summit of Mount Abraham and a portion of Saddleback Mountain, two of the 4,000-foot peaks in Maine’s western mountains, MATLT has embarked on an initiative to conserve the unique ecological qualities and sense of remoteness of the High Peaks Region.
In 2007, MATLT completed the first Ecological Study of the High Peaks Region providing findings about habitat, wildlife and ecological characteristics. These findings have been shared with partners, interested parties in surrounding communities, state government, and others in an effort to develop land conservation in the region.
Currently, MATLT is leading efforts to establish conservation focusing on 85,000 acres. Protection of this economically and ecologically important area, with opportunities for forestry, recreation, and natural resource based tourism, is a priority. By protecting the ecological integrity of the High Peaks Region, we will ensure protection of the traditional recreational values of wilderness, solitude, remoteness, and undisturbed scenic beauty that is most often associated with the Appalachian Trail.
The Importance of The High Peaks Region
The importance of the High Peaks Region is vast—from geological features and ecosystem preservation to eco-tourism and quality of place—and is possible only through maintenance of the native ecological and open space qualities of the region. read more
Features of the High Peaks Region
Including the largest continuous block of land in Maine above 2,700 feet with a core section as one of the largest roadless areas in the state, the region is comprised of essential natural components that are the essence of the area.