Sarah Kearsley casts a line into the Crooked River from Western Foothills Land Trust’s Twin Bridges Preserve in Otisfield. Photo by Andy Gagne

The Western Foothills Land Trust recently enlarged its existing Twin Bridges Preserve by acquiring an adjacent 721-acre forest tract known as Edwards Mills, one of the Chadbourne Tree Farm working forests in western Maine.

The tract includes access from Route 117 and land on both sides of the Crooked River in Norway, Otisfield and Harrison. The purchase also will protect 47-acres of wetlands, over one mile of stream habitat, and two miles of frontage along the Crooked River.

WFLT Development Director Lee Dassler, at left alongside Tom Duffus of The Conservation Fund, takes down the “End of Land Trust Property” sign on the edge of the trust’s newly acquired land, extending Twin Bridges Preserve by 721 acres. Photo by Andy Gagne

The Edwards Mills property is part of a 15,000-acre assemblage of former Chadbourne Tree Farm properties acquired in 2020 by The Conservation Fund in a partnership with the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation, known as White Pine Forest, LLC.

Western Foothills Land Trust is working to reunite fragmented parcels and natural habitats for the benefit of wildlife, water quality and public access. Edwards Mills is adjacent to 100 acres (three parcels) recently protected in Norway and Otisfield, as well as the 252-acre Twin Bridges Preserve that WFLT has managed since 2015.

The expanded Twin Bridges Preserve will protect over 1,000 contiguous acres of working forestland, 4.5 miles of Crooked River shoreline, and over two miles of stream habitat on the Crooked River. In addition to shoreline and stream protection, the land features 275 acres of deer wintering area, 84-acres of wetlands, and at least one potentially significant vernal pool.

Permanent protection of this land will preserve its ecological functions and scenic features, and provide future opportunities for public access and recreation.


Sixty-two miles long, the Crooked River is the largest tributary to Sebago Lake, the drinking water reservoir for one-in-five Mainers. The river’s health supports upstream aquifers, local recreation economies, and essential spawning habitat for brook trout and landlocked salmon, while sustaining downstream drinking water quality. Approximately 99% of Sebago Lake’s landlocked salmon spawn in the Crooked River, which supports one of only four known indigenous populations of landlocked Atlantic salmon in Maine.

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