In 1820 the Pingree Family made large investments in Maine timberlands. Today they are one of the ten largest private landowners in the United States, owning nearly one million acres of Maine timberland. In 1993, the Family initiated an independent, third-party green-certification of their forestland to the highest international standards. These efforts resulted in the Pingree’s Seven Islands Land Company becoming the world’s largest third-party certified sustainable forest products company.
In 2001 the Pingrees created the world’s largest conservation easement—ten years later, it is still the largest in the United States. They sold all development rights on more than 760,000 acres—an area larger than the state of Rhode Island—to the New England Forestry Foundation, forever protecting over three percent of Maine’s land base. While allowing for sustainable forestry into the future, the easement protects some of the most spectacular resources in Maine, including more than 2,000 miles of river frontage, 110 lakes and ponds, 215 miles of lakeshore, over 72,000 acres of wetlands, 67 rare and endangered plant sites, bald eagle and peregrine falcon nesting sites, and moose, bear, lynx, and migratory bird habitat unrivaled in the Northeast.
The Pingree Family has pioneered cooperative management agreements with the State of Maine and other landowners to protect valuable wildlife habitat such as deeryards, heron rookeries, falcon and eagle nesting sites, unique natural areas for rare and endangered species, and support for forestry and wildlife research projects. Further, their lands have been open to the public for traditional recreational uses.
For their innovation, dedication, and commitment to finding solutions that allow for both sustainable use of natural resources and long-term conservation, as well as for their landmark conservation efforts, we are honored to present the 2012 North American Migratory Bird Joint Venture Conservation Champion Award for a Private Landowner to the Pingree Family.