RANGELEY — The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife announced Friday that it has finalized the purchase of over 700 acres of undeveloped land, creating a wildlife management area and a fishery.

The area features over 600 acres of prime deer wintering habitat, and shore frontage on Ross Pond, which contains a wild, self-sustaining brook trout fishery, Mark Latti, communications director for the agency, wrote in a news release.

The land will remain open to the public. Outdoor recreation is one of the state’s largest industries, Latti said.

Fishing and hunting among other outdoor activities will be allowed. The property also includes inland wading bird and waterfowl habitat and the western shore of Ross Pond, one of Maine’s Heritage Fish Waters.

“Deer are at the northern edge of their range in Maine, and deer populations in northern, eastern and western Maine have declined over the past 50 years due to a number of factors, including loss of forested wintering habitat and impacts by predators such as coyotes and bear,” according to Latti. “Deer utilize dense forested softwood canopies as wintering areas for shelter and browse. Current deer populations range from just (one to five) deer per square mile in the north, compared to 15 to 35 deer per square mile in southern areas.”

The new parcel, which is named the Rangeley Wildlife Management Area, is the first to be purchased under a law the Legislature passed in 2021. The law directs the department to purchase land to create new wildlife management areas with the primary purpose of improving or maintaining deer habitat in northern, eastern and western parts of the state.


The owners of the 733 acres were Severin M. Beliveau and Cynthia A. Murray-Beliveau of Portland, according to a Rangeley property tax card. The assessed value is $248,200, according to town records.

Since the state owns the property, it will be off the town and Franklin County tax rolls.

“This wildlife management area, located in the heart of one of Maine’s most popular outdoor recreational destinations, will not only enhance and protect deer, brook trout and other wildlife, but will also provide outstanding opportunities for those who hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors in the Rangeley area,” Judy Camuso, commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said.

The site is just east of Dodge Pond and contains an active deer wintering area and other important wildlife habitat within a forested area that is about 2¼ miles from the center of Rangeley, Latti wrote.

Conservation of this area will provide essential wintering habitat for deer and will also provide public lands where people can hunt, fish and enjoy other outdoor recreational activities, he said.

Public access to this parcel will be through a gravel road that connects the parcel to state routes 4 and 16 in Rangeley. The department finalized the purchase June 14.

The Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust initially alerted the department about this parcel and potential for sale, and worked with the seller and department toward the sale and conservation of it. Funding came from the Maine Deer Management Fund, and federal money under the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration program.

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