Looking Over Sebago Lake

Land Use Policies

1,700 Acres Open To The Public

Sebago Lake Land Reserve

The Portland Water District announced the grand opening of the Sebago Lake Land Reserve in 2005. The 1,700 acre Land Reserve is located in Standish and was purchased by customers to protect Sebago Lake, their drinking water source.

Neighbors are encouraged to visit the Land Reserve and explore the network of trails that host several forest community types, wetlands and vernal pools, and views of Sebago Lake and the Otter Ponds. Visit our trails page to learn more and download a trail map.

While most of the PWD’s land is available to the public, accessing the lake along the Two-Mile No Bodily Contact Zone is still against the law. Fences protect the shoreline land designated as no trespassing, and twelve separate permitting kiosks have been erected to guide land users to trails and popular destinations. Any person or group using PWD property will be required to complete a permit form and place it in a designated box.

The new policy allows lake-friendly activities such as mountain biking, horseback riding, hunting, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. Prohibited activities include camping, fires, and the use of ATVs and motorcycles. A full time security officer has been hired to patrol the Reserve and ensure rules are followed.


PWD has adopted four policies in recent years that collectively describe our approach to land use and beliefs about development in the Sebago Lake watershed.

Sebago Lake Land Use Policy

*Identifies the Sebago Lake Land Reserve, which activities are prohibited, and which land is no trespassing.

Watershed Land Conservation Policy

* Asserts that preservation of forested land is critical for long term protection of lake water quality and outlines a program for contributing funds to support the efforts of watershed property owners who seek to conserve their land in perpetuity.

Land Acquisition Policy

* Identifies priority properties to acquire from willing sellers at fair market value - all properties located inside the 2-mile “No Bodily Contact” zone around the intakes and within 500 feet of the lake shoreline.

Vision Statement

* Explains the District’s view of how activity on the lake should be managed in order to lower the risk to public health.

If you have questions about these policies or want to provide your comments,contact us.