by Matt Markot, Executive Director, Loon Echo Land Trust
Loon Echo Land Trust hosted a group of current and prospective tree farmers from around the Sebago Lake region at their American Tree Farm System Certified, Crooked River Preserve in Harrison on May 22. The group started and ended their journey at Fluvial Brewing, which was a welcome spot for some post-hike libations and socializing on a hot spring day.
Cumberland County Tree Farm Chair and Inspecting Forester Paul Larivee and Oxford County Tree Farm Chair and Inspecting Forester Jesse Duplin were on hand to talk about some of the recent management on Loon Echo’s tree farm and answer questions about the Tree Farm program.
The event also offered a chance to unveil a new model being developed in partnership with American Tree Farm System, Maine TREE and Maine Tree Farm Committee, and Loon Echo Land Trust; the “stewardship hub.” Harkening back to the early days of tree farming where “families” existed as a way to connect local tree farmers, the “Sebago Stewardship Hub” is a first of its kind model for developing connections between existing tree farmers, prospective tree farmers, and other interested parties seeking information about how to best manage their woodlots. Members of the hub are eligible for a nameplate to add to their existing Tree Farm signs, designating them as a member of this geographic “hub” of woodlot owners.
Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) is a donor-supported, nonprofit organization that works to protect the natural resources and character of the northern Sebago Lake region for current and future generations. An accredited Land Trust, Loon Echo protects over 8,500 acres of land and manages 32 miles of hiking and biking trails in the towns of Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago. These important open spaces protect the region’s water resources and wildlife habitat, provide public access for outdoor recreation, and maintain the rural character of our region.
The Maine Tree Farm Committee’s Mission is to help Maine’s family woodland owners realize the full potential of their woods while providing forest products and other woodland benefits in a recognizably sustainable manner. Maine Tree Farm will accomplish this by partnering with organizations with similar goals to provide educational materials, site visits with resource professionals (aka “walk-and-talks,” or “inspections”), field days and workshops, and by providing family woodland owners with recognition and certification services of value to communities, markets, and society at large.