Fourth Machias Lake & peatlands

Between May 2002 and February 2004 the Downeast Lakes Land Trust conducted a biological inventory of Farm Cove Community Forest, a 27,080 acre tract of land in T5 and T6 ND. Through this inventory process, DLLT documented the extraordinary ecological values of the property, including the Machias River watershed, home to Endangered Atlantic salmon.

DLLT chose to establish the 3,560-acre Fourth Machias Lake Ecological Reserve to permanently protect its habitat values, maintaining a suite of representative wetland and forest ecosystems in a natural condition.

The surrounding 3,751-acres, the remaining portion of the Machias River watershed within the Farm Cove Community Forest, are designated as a Late Successional Management Area. This area will be managed to approximate biologically mature forest conditions and will serve as a buffer to the core reserve.

On January 15, 2003, the Downeast Lakes Land Trust Board of Directors voted unanimously to create the Fourth Machias Lake Ecological Reserve and Late-Successional Management Area.

What is an Ecological Reserve?

The following definition of ecological reserve is from the Maine Forest Biodiversity Project (McMahon 1998): an area established to maintain one or more natural ecosystems that are representative of a region.

The key purposes of reserves are to 1) represent the biodiversity of an area, 2) serve as benchmarks against which biological and environmental changes in both managed and unmanaged ecosystems can be measured, 3) provide habitat for species whose needs may not be fully met on managed lands, and 4) provide sites for scientific research, long-term monitoring, and education. An over-riding management guideline is to allow ecosystems to develop and evolve without direct human interference (for example, no timber harvesting, introduction of exotic species, or impoundments) rather than to manage in favor of a given species or successional stage.

Why the Fourth Machias Lake Ecological Reserve?

The reserve is centered around Fourth Machias Lake and Dead Stream Heath, and includes a component of the surrounding forest. This portion of Farm Cove Community Forest was selected for the location of a reserve for the following reasons:

What about Recreation in the Ecological Reserve?

In planning the Ecological Reserve, DLLT was careful to protect public recreational access. As in the rest of the community forest, there is guaranteed access for hunting, hiking, or other pedestrian recreation in the reserve. Motorized vehicles, ATVs, and snowmobiles may be used only on the existing roads and trails.