More than 12,700 acres of forest land locally  is now in conservation thanks to a collaboration between The Nature Conservancy in Maine and TD Bank.

The land is adjacent to the Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Bangor, Maine and the state’s Bradley Unit; together they create an almost 35,000 acre area in conservation. While The Nature Conservancy has held an easement on the Bradley-Sunkhaze Preserve since 2007, the funding provided, in part, through the TD Forests program allows the Conservancy to now purchase the ownership of the property.

TD Forests is a North American initiative of TD Bank and its parent company, TD Bank Group. The program focuses on protecting critical forest habitat, growing local forests and green spaces, and using resources responsibly. In addition, TD Forests works to reintroduce trees to urban spaces through its TD Tree Days and TD Green Streets initiatives and to support local parks and open spaces that strengthen communities.

The Nature Conservancy’s Bradley-Sunkhaze Preserve was chosen as a funding recipient this year by the TD Forests program because the land is a valued and accessible area for outdoor recreation, including hunting, fishing, hiking and snowmobiling east of Bangor. It is also recognized by The Nature Conservancy for its important forest habitat, which features spruce-fir and white pine conifer forest interspersed with a network of streams and beaver flowages that are important waterfowl habitat. The property is known for the major streams (Great Works Stream, Titcomb Brook, and Little Birch Stream) that flow through. Wildlife endemic to the preserve includes a broad range of species such as beaver, deer, moose, bear, and ruffed and spruce grouse.

“Maine is home to a number of very diverse and important habitats, including the forested wetlands and peatlands in this forest,” said Joe Doolan, Head of Environmental Affairs at TD Bank. “With this land purchase in Maine, TD Bank is proud to say we have protected critical forest habitats across our Maine to Florida footprint, demonstrating our commitment to be an environmental leader.”

“This is a great addition to Maine’s conserved forest lands, particularly given its close proximity to the Bangor area,” said Tom Rumpf, Acting Director for The Nature Conservancy’s Maine chapter. “We greatly appreciate TD Bank’s support on this project and their commitment to protecting places like this.”

The Nature Conservancy plans to make the Bradley-Sunkhaze Preserve even more accessible through the development of hiking trails and small parking areas at the new trailheads. When combined with existing trails just across the road at the Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, the new preserve will provide a selection of very different habitats for hikers to explore in this area.

Since its was established in 2012, TD Forests has helped protect more than 25,000 acres of critical forest through its partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Other projects supported to date include oak-hickory and hemlock-northern hardwood forests in New York’s Finger Lakes region; oak-hickory-cabbage palm and upland mixed forests in Central Florida; forests on New York’s Tug Hill Plateau, an important region connecting the Adirondacks and Lake Ontario; pine barrens forest in New Jersey; and undisturbed cypress and tupelo swamp forest along the Black River in South Carolina.

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