Media Archive

Conservation district wins regional award

Article from The Eastern Gazette, Vol. 151, No. 6, February 08, 2003

DOVER-FOXCROFT The Piscataquis County Soil & Water Conservation District is the 2002 recipient of the Chiefs Field Award for the eastern region of the country.

The award, generated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is one of many issued annually to recognize participants in the NRCS Earth Team Volunteer Program.

The Chief's Field Award recognizes one NRCS office in each region for utilization of volunteer resources and accomplishments due to volunteer assistance. The local NRCS/conservation district was recognized for work at the Piscataquis County SWCD Demonstration Forest in Williamsburg Plantation.

This project, when completed, will offer recreational and educational opportunities with interpretive hiking trails set on the district's 180-acre forest. The property will feature an outdoor classroom, kiosk, interpretive signage, forestry Best Management Practices displays, four-season trails, two historical homestead sites and a glacially-formed canyon unique in this area.

Work at the forest has been a true cooperative effort, with heavy contributions by the district, NRCS, the Maine Forest Service and student volunteers from the Foxcroft Academy Forestry Program. Earth Team volunteers from FA's Forestry II and III classes have worked on the forest for the past three years. Forestry Teacher Kirby Ellis and Associate Supervisor Gordon Moore of the Maine Forest Service guided students in their work. The teens have worked on boundary lines and mapping, conducted Cruise, Flexible and Constant Forest inventories, cleared recreational trails, erected signposts for interpretive information, researched the history of homestead sites, leveled the road into the forest and been involved in management plan construction and in all types of harvesting.

Other groups involved in the effort were the Maine Audubon Society, Maine Department of Conservation, the Maine Natural Areas Program, Boy Scouts of America, the Low Impact Forestry Project, the Land Use Regulation Commission, the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the University of ME Forest Ecology Dept. and the Penobscot Indian Nation. .

"It has been quite an accomplishment for the district to bring this project from dream to reality" said Executive Director Sheila Grant. "It took the hard work and good will of many volunteer hands from those who wrote the grants to those who cleared the trails. We are proud of the forest and even more proud that so many were willing to help us reach our goal."

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