High Peaks Alliance recently closed on an 80-acre parcel called the Perham Stream Birding Trail in Madrid Township. Taylor Walker photo

High Peaks Alliance recently closed on an 80-acre parcel called the Perham Stream Birding Trail in Madrid Township.

The parcel, which includes half a mile of frontage on Perham Stream and views of Saddleback Mountain and Mount Abraham, is the first property held in conservation by the alliance, according to a news release from the Farmington-based nonprofit organization.

The Perham trail leads recreaters through a variety of habitats. The trail, which is listed on Maine Trail Finder, experienced a 60% increase in views from 2020 to 2021. The trail is also listed on Maine by Foot.

The alliance plans to install an accessible trail to allow anyone at any ability level to enjoy the property in the future.

In addition to recreational opportunities, this parcel includes a half mile of stream frontage where endangered Atlantic Salmon eggs are stocked by the state of Maine. Perham Stream is listed as critical salmon and native brook trout habitat by the Maine Natural Areas Program, and endangered little brown bats have been located on this 80-acre parcel by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Lloyd Griscom, board president of the alliance and longtime Perham Stream Birding Trail recreator said, “We at HPA are incredibly grateful to Carson Hinkley for his desire to preserve the tradition of stewardship his family has championed for five generations with this land. There is no doubt that Mr. Hinkley could have sold this parcel for top dollar, but he instead prioritized his family’s legacy, the local environment and public access. We would also like to thank the funders who made our maiden voyage into land stewardship possible.”

Funders for this project include the Arboretum Fund at the Maine Community Foundation, Davis Conservation Fund, Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Wildeast Action Fund, Kay Gibson, and The Wilderness Society, with special thanks to Pete McKinley and HPA board members Lloyd Griscom and Ginni Robie.

Brent West, the executive director of the alliance said, “Franklin County is an area with incredible wildlife resources and recreational potential, but most of the area is not currently served by a local land trust. The High Peaks Alliance has worked to conserve land and preserve all forms of recreational access in the high peaks region since 2007, and with this property, the organization is evolving to meet the unfulfilled regional need. We look forward to continuing to serve and grow in Franklin County. This property is just the beginning of what we can accomplish by uniting those people who care about our future together to serve the local area’s conservation needs.”

To learn more about the alliance, or to get involved, visit highpeaksalliance.org or email West at brent@highpeaksalliance.org.

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