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Northern Retreat –Crooked River Headwaters

The Crooked River Headwaters is the fruition of a dream of lifetime conservationists, Mary McFadden and Larry Stifler. Since the 1970s, Mary and Larry have acquired nearly 80 parcels of forestland in Western Maine, and in 2021 granted a conservation easement to MLT encompassing over 12,000 largely connected acres in Albany Township, Greenwood, Waterford, and Norway, Maine.
The property provides access to over seventy miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. It also includes several mountains, ponds, rivers and streams, fly fishing, a historic mine, and forests which naturally filter clean drinking water for 1 in 6 Maine residents and the city of Portland.
This conserved land is privately owned and remains open through the generosity of the owners. Please respect the land and leave it as pristine as you find it so that it remains open for others to enjoy.

How to get there

There are numerous ways to enjoy the property. Comprehensive maps are not yet available.  Published maps for two high quality trails, Long Mountain and Round Mountain, can be found here.


Top notch mountain biking on the property can be found at the Bacon Hill trail system, built and maintained by MLT’s conservation partner, Inland Woods + Trails, which shares a trailhead parking lot with the Long Mountain hiking trail.

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Notes on Topography, plants, and animals

The property connects a largely intact forest landscape lying to the north with vulnerable species to the south. This provides resiliency for the southerly species in the face of climate change. The region’s ability to support Maine’s native flora and fauna in the face of climate change and provide for their resilience depends on conserving an intact and connected landscape to allow for species migration, relocation, movement and other forms of adaptation.  The owners and MLT are committed to creating additional ecological linkages through permanent conservation.

Habitat for All

How this place became open to
the public

Longtime supporters of Mahoosuc Land Trust, in 2021 Mary and Larry entered into partnership with Mahoosuc Land Trust to grant a conservation easement on 12,268 acres–the vast majority of their assembled lands. From Vernon Street in Albany you can drive 20 minutes south with the protected property over your left shoulder the whole way. Or you might choose to walk the 20 miles (requiring some bushwacking) to Waterford, passing numerous lakes, ponds, and the Crooked River en route. 
The scale of this effort is difficult to grasp; this single conservation easement doubled Mahoosuc Land Trust’s conserved lands, and it accomplishes major ecosystem connectivity in a region under increasing development and fragmentation pressures. With permanent protection, the heart of these rugged foothills in the shadow of the White Mountains will remain forever undeveloped.
Mary and Larry’s passion for conservation found a fortunate match with Mahoosuc Land Trust, bolstered by the creative leadership of local partners, Inland Woods + Trails and Western Foothills Land Trust.  The land was conserved with the assistance of The Conservation Fund (TCF) with additional support from TCF in partnership with the Stifler Family Foundation. Sebago Clean Waters contributed major funding through the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Alternative Funding Arrangement (AFA) program. Critical funding was provided by Portland Water District, supported by contributions from The Nature Conservancy and Maine Mountain Collaborative.
Northern Retreat fulfills the Stifler-McFadden family’s commitment to protect natural resources and connect people with the outdoors. Everything from hiking and cross-country skiing to biking, boating and fishing is free and accessible to anyone who wishes to enjoy the land.
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