Downeast Lakes Land Trust was founded in Grand Lake Stream in 2001 in preparation to undertake our first forest conservation project. For more information on the early history of the trust, see the About Us and Our History sections of this site.

With assistance from the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) and the Northern Forest Alliance, DLLT negotiated an option with Wagner Timberlands to purchase 27,080 acres near Grand Lake Stream around West Grand and Fourth Machias Lakes, with the goal of managing these lands as the Farm Cove Community Forest. DLLT joined forces with NEFF for fundraising, creating the Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership comprised of DLLT, NEFF, and the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust. The Partnership campaign encompassed three projects: the Farm Cove Community Forest; purchase of a 50-mile-long conservation/recreation corridor along Spednic Lake and the St. Croix River to be turned over to the State of Maine; and the 312,000-acre Sunrise Easement to be held by NEFF and span much of the adjacent landscape.

The Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership lands ultimately combined with and connected more than one million acres of conservation land across an international boundary, stretching from Maine’s Nicatous Lake conservation easement to extensive ecological reserves and Crown lands in New Brunswick. The $34.8 million campaign began in 2003, and the land and easement purchases were completed in 2005. Bridge financing was used to complete the purchases, and the fundraising campaign formally concluded with an announcement in May of 2008.

The Wabassus Lake Tract – a key parcel abutting the original Community Forest acquisition to the south – was acquired by DLLT in December 2008, and the campaign was completed in September of 2009.  The 21,870-acre West Grand Lake Community Forest Project was completed in July 2016. When added to the existing Farm Cove Community Forest, the two were joined to form the Downeast Lakes Community Forest.