Alder Stream Wilderness Preserve

Piscataquis and Penobscot Counties
Active Project Area

Image Alder Stream/Piscataquis Preserve, Maine

In remote central Maine, a roughly 20,000-acre complex of protected lands is being assembled by various conservation groups including the Northeast Wilderness Trust. These protected lands border Alder Stream and the Piscataquis River, and contain mature American chestnut trees, expansive wetlands, and Atlantic salmon habitat. The Trust is working actively with local partners to expand and further connect this network of protected lands, which includes partner holdings devoted to sustainable forestry, and organic farming.  As of fall 2015, Northeast Wilderness Trust owns more than 6,800 acres under forever-wild protection.

The Alder Stream Wilderness Preserve project area contains one of the largest, most varied, and intact freshwater wetland systems in Maine. Recognized as vital at multiple scales, it is embedded within: (1) a Species-at-risk Focus Area identified in Maine’s Comprehensive Wildlife Action Plan; (2) a larger 88,000-acre area identified by The Nature Conservancy as a high priority Tier 1 Matrix Forest Block due to its unfragmented, high quality forest and wetland characteristics; and (3) the Piscataquis-Penobscot Rivers Focus Area of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

Threats of fragmentation and loss of public access are high, and the wilderness recovery potential of the region is extraordinary—fertile ground for creative conservation action by the Northeast Wilderness Trust and its partners.

Alder Stream Wilderness Preserve is open to quiet recreation and limited hunting, but requires a permit for hunting access.  A summary of access rules is provided below.  Contact with any additional questions.

  • No ATV’s, dirt-bikes, 4x4s, other motor vehicles, or bicycles.
  • No dogs or other pets are permitted.
  • Day use access only. No camping or campfires.
  • No disturbing soil, littering, cutting or damaging vegetation is prohibited
  • No tipping or commercial collecting of fiddleheads, mushrooms, berries or any other items.
  • Snowmobiles are only allowed on posted, club-sponsored trails.
  • Respect the natural environment, show consideration to hunters, wildlife,
    and neighboring landowners, and know and obey the law.
  • Hunting on the preserve requires a permit, available here.
Image Alder Stream, Maine

Piscataquis River Part I

Atkinson and Milo, Maine
1,500 acres
Fee Ownership; Completed Project

The Alder Stream watershed is a focus of the Northeast Wilderness Trust’s conservation efforts because of its biological richness, recreational opportunities and wilderness character. The Trust acquired the 1,500-acre Piscataquis River I property—located in the heart of the watershed—in 2006. The Piscataquis River I parcel is characterized by cedar swamps and rich bogs, conifer and northern hardwood forest, and a remote, wild character. The property contains extensive frontage on the Piscataquis River, an important river for Atlantic salmon recovery, and a significant section of the Alder Stream.

These watersheds are home to a great diversity of plants, birds, fish, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species. The permanent preservation of the Piscataquis River I property is vital to the ecological health of the watershed and ensures that the watershed’s woods and wetlands stay intact …
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Piscataquis River Part II

Atkinson, Maine
1,200 acres
Fee Ownership; Completed Project

The Piscataquis River II Preserve, a 1,200-acre tract of conifer and deciduous forest, wetlands, and riparian habitat, was acquired by the Northeast Wilderness Trust in December 2010. The Piscataquis River II Preserve provides a critical link in the matrix of already conserved lands in the area and is adjacent to the 1,500-acre Piscataquis River I property that the Trust has protected since 2006.

With three miles of frontage on the Piscataquis River, extensive adjacent and nearby conservation lands, crucial habitat for rare and endangered species, and a one-of-a-kind grove of American chestnuts, the Piscataquis River II Preserve offered a rare opportunity to create a wild legacy for Maine and the nation. Complementing the Wilderness Trust’s other holdings in the area, the Piscataquis River II parcel extends the contiguous riverfront protection to …
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Alder Stream

Atkinson and Orneville, Maine
1,760 acres
Fee Ownership; Completed Project

In remote, central Maine lies 1,760 acres consisting of a patchwork of wetlands and untamed forest.  Moss carpets the ground beneath towering trees and open peat lands offer a veritable buffet for inland wading birds and water fowl.  These parcels, part of a growing network of conserved lands, offer outstanding wilderness recovery potential. Here, nature will direct the ebb and flow of life, and the plants, animals, and natural processes will be sustained in perpetuity.

In 2012 the Wilderness Trust, with the help of our longtime partner Sweet Water Trust, accepted the fee ownership of these rich and biodiverse acres in Atkinson and Orneville, growing the total acreage owned by Northeast Wilderness Trust at the time to 4,460 acres.

Since that time the Alder Stream Wilderness Preserve has grown an additional 2,300 acres with …
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West Branch Dead Stream

Atkinson and Charleston, Maine
2,300 acres
Fee Ownership; Completed Project

Northeast Wilderness Trust purchased these approximately 2,300 acres for addition to the Alder Stream Wilderness Preserve in 2014. Protection of this key parcel significantly advances the ecological recovery of the area and brings the total acreage of the Alder Stream Wilderness Preserve to just over 6,800 acres.

The West Branch Dead Stream Property contains extensive wetlands that provide exceptional habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife, as well as approximately 15 miles of frontage along Levensellor Brook and Dead Stream, critical habitat for imperiled Atlantic salmon. In a bird survey of the property, 41 bird species were recorded; one highlight was a singing clay-colored sparrow—a species that has been confirmed breeding in Maine only once.

According to then Executive Director of Northeast Wilderness Trust, Daryl Burtnett, “The protection of …
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