Media Archive

County applauds AMC land purchase

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 166, No. 3, January 21, 2004

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

DOVER-FOXCROFT Piscataquis County Commissioners on Tuesday thanked the Appalachian Mountain Club for investing in Piscataquis County's future.

Gerry Whiting, Maine AMC representative, outlined the club's goal for the 37,000-acre land purchase near Katahdin Ironworks and Gulf Hagas Gorge, located about 10 miles east of Greenville. He said the club had been looking to purchase a sizeable parcel to "promote backcountry education and recreation." The club last June closed on the $14 million purchase of the parcel from International Paper Co., including Little Lyford Pond Camps.

"It was a major challenge for us," Whiting said. "We went to the bank to borrow the money."

Whiting acknowledged that the club is seeking funding from the Land For Maine's Future Program. According to a Jan. 8 letter to the commissioners from Tim Glidden, director of that program, the AMC and the Maine Department of Conservation submitted an application in the fourth and final round of funding available under the $50 million 1999 land bond.

Glidden wrote that the AMC proposes to "sell a conservation easement to the Maine Department of Conservation and to establish an ecological preserve on a portion of land that they have recently acquired along the '100-mile wilderness' section of the Appalachian Trail. The remainder of the land would be sustainable managed for timber production and outdoor recreation."

The Land for Maine's Future board will meet Jan. 26 arid 27 to consider the project, the letter continued.

Whiting said that the AMC aims to "be sensitive to the culture and economy of Piscataquis County," and that the club recognizes the economic importance of the snowmobiling industry to the county. He added that there will be a place for motorized backcountry recreation on the parcel, along with the AMC's traditional non-motorized activities, such as skiing and hiking, He added he would meet with the Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club later in the week to discuss the snowmobile trails.

In addition, the club hopes to develop loop trails for day hikes off from the Appalachian Trail, publish maps and offer educational programs, Whiting said.

Commissioner Tom Lizotte noted the significance of the purchase and such recreational developments on the region's tourism industry. He said that the AMC purchase in Katahdin Ironworks and the states recent purchase of the Newport to Dover-Foxcroft rail-trail both will augment recreational tourism in the area. "These are two huge developments," he said.

Commissioner Chairman Eben Dewitt thanked Whiting and the AMC "We welcome you, and if we can be "of any assistance, let us know," Dewitt said.

In other county news, commissioners agreed with a request from the telecommunications department to replace an out-dated dictaphone recorder, which records all E-91l calls, radio traffic and more for the sheriff's department.

According to dispatcher Tom Harvey, the current recorder does not meet E-911 standards, as the system can only hold 12 days of recordings, not the 30 days required.

The commissioners authorized Harvey to purchase a replacement DVD recording ROM system through Affiliated Voice Systems of Bangor. With $3,600 in trade-in value for (the old system, the cost for upgrading the system would be around $13,000 money that the department had budgeted in a reserve account.

Commissioners also heard from Sheriff John Goggin about the heating system in the old jail / sheriff's department building. According to Goggin, the new boiler system installed with the jail is not adequately heating the present office space for the sheriff's department. During last week's cold spell, he said, employees "were running around wearing coats and hats." He informed the commissioners that he had contacted A.E. Robinson, and that a heating engineer would be inspecting the buildings soon.

Goggin said that two options may be to install a new boiler on the old part of the building or a booster system. He did not have any cost estimates.

The county did not budget any money in 2004 for such heating repairs / replacements, although there is funding in a contingency for emergencies.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.