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The Penobscot Nation has plans to reclaim more than 30,000 acres of their homeland in Maine from a national nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL), according to a press release from the organization.

The transfer will put the acreage— taken from the Penobscot Nation in the nineteenth century in the Katahdin region of Maine— back into tribal stewardship, the nonprofit said. TPL purchased the land when it went up for sale in 2022.

“We are very excited to work with TPL towards this common goal of returning a portion of unceded lands back to the governance of the Penobscot Nation,” said Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis in a statement. “We are also ecstatic for the opportunity to explore and improve the aquatic and wildlife habitat within this parcel to conserve more land in the Katahdin region for our future generations.”

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The 31,367 acres going back to the Nation sit within the Penobscot River watershed and include forests, recreational trails, wetlands, and more than 50 miles of streams.

The nonprofit and tribe will work together to: re-establish the Penobscot Nation as legal stewards of the land, create public access to the southern portion of the land, and boost local economies through the creation of public access, TPL said.

Trust for Public Land President and CEO Diane Regas said the land back announcement isn’t “just an isolated act, but a deep acknowledgment and reaffirmation of a timeless bond, a rich history, and a promising future.”

As we collaborate with the Penobscot Nation, the National Park Service, and local communities, we are driven by a shared vision: to honor and help restore the rich tapestry of Wabanaki connection to land and ensure that Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument can be accessed and enjoyed by all."

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