Explore and Conserve the McCoy-Chapman Forest and Help Make Critical Recreation and Habitat Connections

Long before her estate deeded a stunning 493-acre parcel in Gilead, Bethel, and Newry, Maine to Mahoosuc Land Trust, Geneva “Ginnie” McCoy quietly let it be known that she had hopes that her North Road property would remain in a natural state after her lifetime.   Mahoosuc Land Trust is making that wish a reality, and is playing a lead role with partner organizations to connect recreational trails and key wildlife habitat areas from Bethel to the Mahoosuc Mountains.

The Forest is part of the regionally and globally significant natural landscape of the Western Maine Mountains region.

The Forest is part of the regionally and globally significant natural landscape of the Western Maine Mountains region.

why conserve the forest?

Each year, as our communities add needed housing and development, we lose the chance to interconnect natural lands to allow for the meaningful movement of wildlife and recreationists across the landscape. The McCoy-Chapman Forest is a critical piece of the forested land area between the developed part of Bethel and the mountain peaks north and west of town. It is uniquely placed to serve community and habitat needs, and to be part of a critical resilient landscape in the face of climate change.

Stretching from the north side of the Androscoggin River to 1600’ in elevation on the Riley Township line, the land squarely supports MLT’s major goal to conserve large connected areas, wildlife corridors, special places, and lands that allow sustainable, economically productive use.

Stretching from the north side of the Androscoggin River to 1600’ in elevation on the Riley Township line, the land squarely supports MLT’s major goal to conserve large connected areas, wildlife corridors, special places, and lands that allow sustainable, economically productive use.

The Forest will be part of a regional trail network spanning a roughly 5000-acre area.

The Forest will be part of a regional trail network spanning a roughly 5000-acre area.

How does the McCoy-Chapman Forest fit into the conservation-recreation landscape?

In addition to trails on the property itself, initial trail connections have been made to adjacent lands, providing views to the Presidential Mountain Range and the valleys below.  Connections are planned to other recreational parcels in the area, including the future 980-acre Bethel Community Forest and 2411-acre Bingham Forest.  Within the McCoy-Chapman Forest, MLT and volunteers have begun to flag and map a trail system, both along the mile of the Androscoggin River frontage, and along the tributary streams rising to the mountains to the north.

Visitors will enjoy the clear waters and cascades of four distinct branches of Chapman Brook as MLT volunteers create new trail routes.

Visitors will enjoy the clear waters and cascades of four distinct branches of Chapman Brook as MLT volunteers create new trail routes.

How can i be part of the forest?

With approximately 8500 acres under its care, MLT relies heavily on volunteers, and sustains its stewardship through a 99% volunteer structure, managing and maintaining miles of trails, signage, kiosks, and bridges. The McCoy-Chapman Forest welcomes you to help the group which has been planning, collecting data, mapping special resource protection areas, planning and making trails, providing mowing and excavating, and more.

The generosity of Ginnie McCoy’s family members allowed MLT to acquire the property for a fraction of its market value.  But seizing this opportunity required Mahoosuc Land Trust to take out a loan that must be repaid in early 2020. And MLT must raise funds for initial trails and recreational improvements, land management, and perpetual stewardship responsibilities.