Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands: September 2021 Newsletter

View as a webpage  /  Share

Bureau of Parks and Lands

September 2021

In this Issue:

Director's Note: The Many Values of Older Forests

Staff from Maine DACF and IFW gather with the Silvicultural Advisory Committee in August at Big Reed Pond.

Staff from the Maine Departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) gather with the Silvicultural Advisory Committee in August at Big Reed Pond. Photo by Bill Patterson.

Often as I drive into a Maine Public Land, it occurs to me that you don’t need a map or welcome sign to know when you’ve crossed the property line. After driving hours through commercial forestlands, the canopy of large trees that gracefully arcs over a Public Land road is a dead give-away. Forest measurements confirm the eye-test: an average acre of Maine Public Land supports at least one-third more wood than an average acre of Maine forest, and Public Lands invariably grow more wood than is harvested. The Bureau’s high proportion of older forest, including nearly 100,000 acres of Ecological Reserves, aligns well with our multiple-use mandate of supporting recreation, wildlife, and biodiversity, while ensuring clean water and a sustained flow of timber products.

In early August I was fortunate to join the Bureau’s annual meeting of the Silvicultural Advisory Committee and our staff foresters (and staff from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Natural Areas Program) as we discussed the characteristics, benefits, and many values of older forests. We traversed a stand of majestic old hemlock in the Scraggly Lake Unit, and we visited The Nature Conservancy’s Big Reed Pond tract – the largest area of old forest in New England. One of the more intriguing conversations involved the ways in which carbon sequestration might factor into our forest management plans -- both from biological and economic standpoints. Of course, young forests are important too (as are young loggers and foresters!), but as I think about the things that define Public Lands, big trees are among the first that come to mind.

~ Andy Cutko, Director, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Top of page

36 Years of Service - Chief of Silviculture Retires

Photo of Tom Charles, BPL Chief of Silviculture receiving retirement plaque from BPL Director Andy Cutko.

BPL Director Andy Cutko with Tom Charles, Chief of Silviculture, as Tom holds the retirement plaque commemorating his 36 years of service to the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

After 36 years of truly outstanding service to the Bureau of Parks and Lands, Chief of Silviculture Tom Charles has retired to tend his own woodlot and rain gauge. With a steady hand and a razor-sharp institutional knowledge, Tom guided the Bureau’s forest inventory, harvest planning, and monitoring initiatives through several state administrations. Most notably, Tom led the Bureau’s groundbreaking effort to become one of the earliest and largest state ‘green’ certified programs under the Forest Stewardship Council®  and Sustainable Forestry Initiative® . Tom’s memos, reports, and e-mails were chock-full of useful forest statistics, insights, and historical perspective, and they often included some interesting reference to weather or climate events of interest. We’re fortunate that Tom has accepted a permanent ‘Silviculturist Emeritus’ appointment to the Bureau’s Silviculture Advisory Committee, so we’ll benefit from his wisdom for years to come!

~ Andy Cutko, Director, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Top of page

Campground Reservations Call Center Closes for Season on Sept. 10

Visitors sitting by Sebec Lake at Peaks-Kenny State Park.

The State Park Campground Reservations Call Center will close for the season on Friday, September 10, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. EST. Special thanks to Charlene Daniels, the Bureau’s intrepid Campground Reservations Manager, for handling another record-breaking year of incredible reservation volume and variety of calls from all over the country this summer!

  • Internet Reservations will continue through to
    Sunday, 9/12/2021 until 4:00  p.m. EST at

Off Season & Winter Camping

  • Campsites become first-come/first-served on Monday, September 13, 2021.
  • Customers can continue to camp through October 15 at most* park campgrounds. Standard camping fees apply.
    • *Camping season ends for the year for:
      Peaks-Kenny: Campground closes for year on October 1
      Rangeley Lake: Campground closes for year on October 1
      Warren Island: Campground closes for year on September 15
  • Campground rates vary by location.
  • Campground Maps.
  • No camping is permitted at the Parks from October 16 to December 14. This break allows for park maintenance of the campground areas.
  • Winter Camping, as primitive tent camping only, is offered December 15 - March 15 at select Maine State Park Campgrounds.

Thank you for a wonderful camping season. We hope to see you again next year!


2022 Campground Reservation Dates for Call Center & Online Reservations:

  • Sebago Lake State Park – Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at 9:00 AM, EST (storm date if Maine State Government is closed – Wednesday, February 2, 2022)
  • All parks - Friday, February 4, 2022, at 9:00 AM, EST (storm date if Maine State Government is closed – Monday, February 7, 2022)


2022 Group Campsite and Group Picnic Shelter Reservations – for all parks

  • Monday, February 1, 2022, at 9:00 AM, EST

Call the park specific phone numbers for these reservations:

Top of page

Great Circle Trail Celebration at Nahmakanta Public Land

Nahmakanta Public Land aerial shot above Wadleigh Pond.

Nahmakanta Public Land aerial shot above Wadleigh Pond by Rex Turner. Waterfall shot by Ranger Mat Henion.

Please join the Bureau of Parks and Lands on September 25th for the grand opening of the Great Circle Trail at Nahmakanta Public Reserved Land located in the heart of the Katahdin Region. This new 30-mile hiking trail loop connects the Turtle Ridge Loop, Debsconeag Loop trail and the Appalachian Trail into one large network that encompasses a large portion of the Nahmakanta Unit. The trail can be hiked in bite-sized sections or as a multi-day adventure utilizing eight remote campsites accessed by the trail.

Waterfall on Nahmakanta Public Land.

Celebration Details:

Saturday, September 25 at 10:00 a.m. 

  • Meetat the new Katahdin View Trailhead (45.694686, -69.170821) on the Penobscot Pond Road on the Nahmakanta Unit.
  • Participate in a guided hike explaining the unique cultural and natural history of Nahmakanta Public Land given by BPL Staff.
  • *Please RSVP by calling the Bangor Office at (207) 941-4412 so that we can send you detailed directions and plan for the refreshments and guided hikes. 
  • Rain or shine, no rain date.
Adirondack shelters and stone fireplace at campsite along the Great Circle Trail at Nahmakanta Public Land.

Adirondack shelters and stone fireplace at a group campsite along the Black Pond Motorized Trail, Nahmakanta Public Land. Photo by Public Lands Forester Jay Hall.

Top of page

Land and Water Conservation Funding - New 2022/2023 Cycle Open - Apply Now!

Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) logo.

The 2022 Maine Land and Water Conservation Fund grant cycle for projects starting in 2023 is now open.

To start your application process:

  1. Request a site inspection now to assure the site itself is eligible for funding.
    • This on-site meeting will also provide design and application tips you can use to maximize your chance for funding. 
  2. For more information about this program please visit the Maine LWCF website.

LWCF - Increasing Public Outdoor Recreation for Half a Century

Aerial view of Grafton Notch State Park and Mahoosuc Public Land.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1964 (LWCF) was established to assist federal, state, and local governments acquiring and developing public outdoor recreation facilities. Administered at the federal level by the National Park Service and at the state level by the Bureau of Parks and Lands, LWCF grants can provide up to 50% of the allowable costs for approved acquisition or development projects for public outdoor recreation.

Maine received $2.7 million this year for distribution to eligible projects. We expect a similar level of funding annually and have set the maximum award level at $500,000 per project. There has never been a better time to tap into this valuable resource.

Top of page

Three Public Lands Management Plans Adopted

With the approval of Amanda Beal, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the Bureau has adopted the St. John Uplands Region Management Plan, as well as plans for the recently acquired West Branch Pleasant River and Orient Units. The plans will guide the Bureau’s multiple-use management -- including recreation, wildlife habitat, scenic and natural areas, and timber production – for the next 5-15 years.

Coffeelos Pond at Telos Unit; mist rising off the water in the distance.


The St. John Uplands Plan:

  • Addresses over 63,500 acres of Public Reserved Land within northern Somerset, northern Piscataquis, and northern Aroostook Counties, including Chesuncook/Gero Island, Telos, Chamberlain Lake, and Round Pond Units, as well as several smaller Public Lots near the Town of Allagash.  Photo: Coffeelos Pond at Telos Unit.
  • Is the first regional management plan addressing this assemblage of Public Lands, most of which are adjacent to the famed Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
  • These Public Lands host several campsites (maintained by North Maine Woods, Inc. in partnership with the Bureau), two recently rehabbed fire towers accessible by trail, an expanded Ecological Reserve, and major timber production areas.
Campsite along the Pleasant River showing a yellow dome tent, a picnic table, and a metal fire ring.

The West Branch Pleasant River Unit:

  • Is a 1,200 acre tract in Bowdoin College Grant East Twp., in an area of exceptional conservation and recreation values, centrally located in what is popularly known as the 100-Mile Wilderness and adjacent to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) corridor and the Gulf Hagas gorge.
  • Straddles more than 2.5 miles of the W.B. Pleasant River, which hosts a robust population of wild brook trout.
  • Hosts several campsites along the river (maintained by KI Jo-Mary, Inc. in partnership with the Bureau) and a primary trailhead for the Gulf Hagas gorge trails (maintained by Maine Appalachian Trail Club). Photo: Campsite along the river.
Wetlands along Monument Brook in the Orient Unit, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

The Orient Unit:

  • Is a 6,000 acre tract on the Monument Brook headwaters of the St. Croix River, in southern Aroostook County. Photo: Wetlands along Monument Brook.
  • Hosts part of a large deer wintering area as well as exemplary natural communities and a variety of high-value wetlands.

The Bureau greatly appreciates the assistance provided in the development of these management plans by the Advisory Committees for each plan area, as well as by members of the public who participated in meetings and submitted comments.

~ Jim Vogel, Senior Planner, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Top of page

Forestry in the Spotlight - Stratton Lumber and the Timber Resource Group

The Bureau of Parks and Lands is responsible for the stewardship of approximately 630,000 acres of Public Lands across the State of Maine. These lands represent some of the best natural habitat, recreational and timber resources in the State of Maine. Receiving no general fund revenue, the Division of Public Lands is statutorily obligated to practice sustainable forest management, harvesting timber to promote forest health and productivity while producing revenue to manage the land and support Maine’s forest products economy. An average year will see the production of 120,000 cords on harvests covering roughly 10,000 acres each year.

The Bureau relies on numerous partners in the logging and forest products industries, across the State of Maine. In a recent conversation with one of these partners, Allan Ryder, President of Timber Resource Group (TRG), he described the history and work of Stratton Lumber and TRG.

Allan Ryder, President of Timber Resource Group, with town and autumn colors on hills in background.

Allan is proud of the Timber Resource Group Log Buyers & staff and the work they do, and the continued forestry tradition in Maine. Born in Farmington, Allan has gotten to know the Maine woods since childhood. He graduated high school from Greenville then went to the University of Maine, Orono where he received an associate degree in Forest Management Technology then a bachelor’s degree in Forest Management. He was working in New Hampshire as a forester when the Log Buyer position at United Forest Resources (UFR) opened. He jumped at the chance to see more of New England and meet more people. UFR was the log procurement company for Stratton Lumber and six other sawmills and one veneer mill located in New England and Quebec at that time. Allan noted that, “Building relationships is the most important part of position.” His jump was a good one - he has been buying logs for Stratton Lumber since 1990, working his way up from a Log Buyer to the President of the Timber Resource Group.

Stratton Lumber Mill aerial shot with lake and mountains in background.

Stratton Lumber started as a family owned two-country business in 1981 by the Fontaines (Alfred and children Jean-Paul and Suzanne) of Woburn, Quebec along with business partners in Maine. Nicolas Fontaine, third generation in the business, continues to run the business today.

Timber Resource Group logo.

Timber Resource Group, founded in 1998, is a subsidiary of Stratton Lumber and is the log procurement company for Stratton Lumber. TRG buys spruce and balsam fir logs and treelength high grade in three ways:

  1. Direct to Stratton Lumber Sawmill
  2. Into TRG Log Yards (3 in Maine, 1 in NH, 3 in Vermont)
  3. Roadside throughout New England, New York and as far south as Pennsylvania
Log procurement in the field on a snowy day.

TRG buyers, covering ME, NH, VT, MA & NY, have a forestry degree or background, and all are Maine Licensed Wood Scalers. They work with about 50 direct-to-mill log suppliers, including most all the major landowners and the Maine Public Lands managers in the State of Maine. Stratton Lumber has a total of over 500 log suppliers when you add up the direct-to-mill, TRG Log Yards and Roadside suppliers. Allan noted that, “The Maine Bureau of Parks and Land’s Regional Managers do a great job managing the Public Lands forests. They consistently produce very good quality spruce and fir logs.” Continue reading and view photos of the milling process.

Top of page

Events & Programs

Castlebay giving an outdoor musical performance of harp and guitar.

Bradbury Mountain State Park

Nahmakanta Public Land

  • September 25, 2021 - Great Circle Trail Opening 
    • See the full announcement above in this newsletter.
    • Text DACF E-LANDS to 468311 get alerts from this region.

Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park

Join us at the Common Ground Country Fair!

Stop by to see Bureau of Parks and Lands staff and the Maine Forest Service in the Low Impact Forestry section of the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine on September 24, 25 & 26.  Staff from Agriculture and other Bureaus will be on location throughout the Fair to provide information about the terrific parks, public lands, forests and farms that make Maine such an exceptional state. Be sure to get your tickets online in advance at See you at the Fair!

Autumn Colors Arrives Early in the North Country!

Fall Colors at Hedgehog Mt., Mount Blue State Park.

Follow the best of the Autumn colors around Maine from mid-September through mid to late October. You can start planning your fall color drives, hikes, rides and paddles now by checking out the Bureau of Parks and Lands Fall Foliage page and these two resources:

Top of page

Mount Battie Stone Tower Turns 100!

Unveiling of the Mount Battie Memorial History panel by those that worked on and supported it.

Unveiling of the Mount Battie WWI Memorial Tower panel by Randy Stearns, State Represetative Vicki Doudera, Charlene "Sunshine" Hood, Kevin Miller, Leah Trommer, and Heather Moran.

The stone WWI Memorial Tower at Mount Battie, Camden Hills State Park, Maine.

The iconic stone tower on the summit of Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park was built as a memorial to the soldiers of WWI in 1921 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

On August 21, the Memorial Tower's 100 year anniversary was celebrated and featured the unveiling of a beautifully illustrated history panel by State Representative Vicki Doudera; Heather Moran of Maine State Archives and Friends of Mt. Battie Tower; Randy Stearns, Chairman of the Friends of Mt. Battie Tower and Camden Rockport Historical Society member; Leah Trommer, Community Engagement Coordinator of the Coastal Mountains Land Trust, Park Manager Charlene "Sunshine" Hood and Park Ranger Kevin Miller. This video short was filmed by Jim Britt, Communications Director for the Department of  Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Visitors to the summit of Mt. Battie can learn about the tower's significance thanks to the financial and project support of the Friends of Mt Battie Tower and the project partners who helped gather and review the historical content. We want to especially thank Heather Moran for all her research and project development work.

The Memorial Tower stands atop one of the best view spots in Maine. A panoramic view of Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay greets hikers who choose the Mt. Battie Summit Trail as well as folks who prefer to drive the Mount Battie Auto Road. 

Thank you to everyone who worked together on the panel project over the past several years, and to Park Manager Charlene "Sunshine" Hood for revitalizing the effort and bringing it to completion in time for the tower's 100th year! 

Top of page

International Coastal Clean-up Month

Youngsters playing tag with waves on the beach at Reid State Park, Maine.

Youngsters playing in the ocean surf. Photo by Ellen Wood.

Maine Coastal Cleanup Poster for 2021.

Join volunteers at locations throughout the state for the 33rd Anniversary of the Maine Coastal Cleanup! You'll be helping keep Maine coasts litter free and beautiful for all the wildlife that depend on these locations as homelands, feeding grounds, and migration rest stops. Watch for migrating Monarchs and other wonders of nature while you are volunteering and know that they and all coastal visitors thank you! 

State Parks looking for your help include:

Get all the details and the complete list of locations at the Maine Department of Marine Resources Coastal Cleanup page.

Top of page

Recommended Read - The First Blade of Sweetgrass

Book cover of The First Blade of Sweetgrass by Suzanne Greenlaw and Gabriel Frey.

The First Blade of Sweetgrass by Suzanne Greenlaw and Gabriel Frey is a beautifully told and illustrated story about a young girl who learns to pick sweetgrass with her grandmother. In doing so, she learns so much more... about herself, her family, her heritage, and the environment that sustains all life. An end note from Suzanne and Gabriel describes the spiritual, cultural and economic importance of sweetgrass for the Wabanaki, a brief glossary of Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Words, and a web address for the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Language Portal where you can hear the words spoken and translate to and from English. Brief biographies of Suzanne, Gabriel, and illustrator Nancy Baker are included and well worth reading. 

~ Jocelyn Hubbell, Interpretive Specialist, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Top of page

Send article suggestions or newsletter comments to Jocelyn Hubbell, Interpretive Specialist, webmaster, and newsletter editor for the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.