Outdoors delight: Maine triples conserved acreage

Excerpts:

Maine's vast backcountry backyard offers outdoors lovers 3.3 million acres set aside from development in recent years, roughly the size of Connecticut, nearly 18 percent of the entire state of Maine.

…But some conservationists envision going even further: creation of a sprawling national preserve encompassing the region, an idea they say is rooted in the dreams of author and poet Henry David Thoreau, who roamed the region a century and a half ago.

…Anglers, snowshoers, cross-country skiers and those who just enjoy nature have been flocking to West Branch Pond Camps in the recently preserved Roach Ponds area east of Moosehead Lake, owner-operator Eric Stirling said. Word of the Roach Ponds purchase, about 100 miles north of Augusta, prompted customers to make reservations months in advance.

"It's really been fantastic for my business," Stirling said. Business is up 20 percent since the Roach Ponds purchase was finalized in 2009, he said.