Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands April 2023 Newsletter

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Bureau of Parks and Lands

April 2023

In this Issue:

Director's Note: Farewells to Staff Who've Made Lasting Impacts

Dianna and Bruce Farnham at the outdoor ice skating rink at Mount Blue State Park.

While springtime always brings new faces to the Bureau, we are also bidding farewell to a few staff who have made lasting impacts on Maine. For more than three decades, most recently at Mt. Blue State Park, Bruce and Dianna Farnham served as multi-talented State Park staff. Bruce, the Park’s manager, could rescue an injured hiker, identify a wildflower, set a misbehaving camper straight, and serve as a mentor to countless new staff and volunteers. Dianna, a long-time park customer service specialist, was that perpetually friendly face who welcomed visitors and kept things running smoothly behind the scenes. Fittingly, Bruce and Dianna ended their careers together, and their careers were recognized at a fine gathering recently in Weld. Their wisdom, insights, and experience will be missed for years to come.

Liz Petruska doing in-field monitoring of property easements.

Liz Petruska, the Bureau’s Director of Acquisitions and Planning, managed a dizzying array of land protection projects while also actively engaging in recreation, wildlife, and planning initiatives. Rex Turner, one of Liz’s Planning Team colleagues, recognizes her contributions in more detail below. We’ll all miss Liz’s professionalism, humor, grace under pressure, and her outstanding line of baked goods!

Photo of Sarah Demers by Laura Graham.

Lastly, although the Land for Maine’s Future Program is not within the Bureau of Parks and Lands, I want to recognize the outstanding contributions of Sarah Demers, LMF’s Director, as she moves on to a position with the Northern Border Regional Commission. Sarah has done an exceptional job of managing LMF through multiple administrations.

Thanks to Bruce, Dianna, Liz, and Sarah for your exemplary work on behalf of Maine’s people and special places!

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

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East Grand Lake Conservation Achievement - Ten+ Years in the Making with Crucial Partners!

View of East Grand Lake by Liz Petruska, Director of Acquisition and Planning, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

View of East Grand Lake by Liz Petruska, Director of Acquisition and Planning, BPL.

Twenty-one miles of shoreline and thousands of acres of forest on East Grand Lake were recently conserved after more than 10 years of work by BPL and The Conservation Fund. Using funds from the Forest Legacy Program and Land for Maine’s Future, BPL purchased a working forest conservation easement that provides extensive outdoor recreation opportunities while allowing the property to remain privately owned and sustainably managed for timber. Acquisition of this easement is the final phase of the East Grand Lake Watershed Initiative, a landscape-scale effort that has protected a total of 11,821 acres of forest and 21 miles of shoreline. As part of the initiative, The Conservation Fund worked closely with the towns of Weston and Orient to create economic development projects and provide community growth opportunities. To that end, five acres of land adjacent to the easement were donated to the Town of Weston for a public park on East Grand Lake.

“Through the Forest Legacy Program, the Forest Service directly supports keeping forests as forests for future generations to benefit from and enjoy,” said Gina Owens, regional forester for the U.S. Forest Service’s Eastern Region.

Benefits of the project include significant habitat protection, maintaining a productive forest, and providing lasting access for guiding, hunting, snowmobiling, and ATVs. The property also comprises a portion of the Million Dollar View Scenic Byway viewshed, which draws visitors from near and far. BPL is thrilled to help conserve a spectacular piece of land and shoreline. This project provides immeasurable benefits to Maine’s people and wildlife, and we thank The Conservation Fund for its leadership and the Forest Legacy and Land for Maine’s Future programs for their support.

~ Liz Petruska, Director of Planning and Acquisitions

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Thank You and Farewell to Liz Petruska

Liz Petruska at Buck's Ledge, Maine.

Photo above: Liz Petruska at Buck's Ledge. Photo below: Liz geared up at Lobster Lake.

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) is saying goodbye to an impactful employee who has left a positive mark on Maine’s outdoors. Liz Petruska, who started with BPL in easement monitoring and later became Director of Acquisition and Planning, has worked diligently with bureau staff and countless partners to conserve, manage, share, and celebrate incredibly captivating landscapes across the state. Her dedication to Maine’s publicly available outdoor spaces as well as her professionalism and leadership will be missed as she transitions to her new national role with the US Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program.

Liz Petruska geared up at Lobster Lake.

Liz expresses fond memories of time spent with staff and partners exploring Maine landscapes by land, water, and air. She has valued the pleasure of working with so many wonderful BPL and state agency colleagues, as well as land trust partners, landowners, lawyers, and natural resource professionals.

Here at the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, we will miss her tremendous energy and substantial impact. But, we’re happy she will be bringing her talents and Maine experiences with her as she works on conservation projects across the nation.

~ Rex Turner, Outdoor Recreation Planner, on behalf of Liz's Planning Team:  Joseph Anderson, Kristin Anderson, Jocelyn Hubbell, Gayle Koyanagi, Rex Turner, and Jim Vogel.

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Applications are Open for the Maine Forest Legacy Program

The State of Maine is currently accepting applications to the Maine Forest Legacy Program from interested forest landowners.

The Forest Legacy Program is a conservation program administered by the U.S. Forest Service in partnership with state agencies to encourage the protection of privately owned forest lands through conservation easements or land purchases. It operates on a competitive basis nationwide and aims to protect an array of traditional uses, forest economies and public values by preventing the conversion of Maine’s forest to non-forest uses.

Since 1994, Maine’s Forest Legacy Program has received more than $76 million through the program, and has permanently protected over 755,000 acres, with iconic landscapes that include Tumbledown Mountain, Nicatous Lake, and Pierce Pond, to name just a few.

For more information about Maine’s program and the grant application materials, read the Letter to Landowners (PDF 210KB) and Application Guidelines (PDF 244KB).

To be eligible for FY2025 funding, applicants must first contact Jo D. Saffeir, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, by May 1, 2023 to discuss the proposed project and receive further application details. Additional information is available on the Forest Legacy webpage.

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Boating Facilities Fund Grant Seeks Proposals

Boat Launch before and after renovation through the Boating Facilities Fund.

The Boating Facilities Fund Grant Program is seeking proposals from local, state or other governmental agencies, as well as other entities for the development and/or renovation of public recreational boating facilities.

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Experience Feathers Over Freeport!

Osprey in flight photo by Jeff Bouton.

Osprey in flight by Jeff Bouton.

Since 2011 - A birdwatching & nature discovery weekend for all ages!

Join us on April 19 and 27 for our pre-event gatherings and then for two days of bird watching and nature discovery on April 29 and 30. All details at


  • April 19 - 4:00-8 pm - Community Pizza Night at the Maine Beer Company. Get into the fun early and help support Feathers Over Freeport by attending the Community Pizza Night at the Maine Beer Company. Park and event staff will host an activity & information table and be on hand to answer questions about birding, the Hawk Watch, and Feathers Over Freeport. 20% of food sales between 4:00 and 8 pm will be donated to Feathers Over Freeport. Location: The Maine Beer Company, 525 US Route 1 in Freeport.
Leigh Hallett, Executive Director of Avian Haven.
  • April 27 - 6:30-8 pm - Avian Haven by Leigh Hallett at Patagonia. Leigh Hallett, executive director of Avian Haven, will be presenting. Avian Haven is a wild bird and turtle rehabilitation center located in Freedom, Maine. In 2022 the center admitted almost 3300 birds and 75 turtles, relying on a staff of ten and numerous on-site volunteers. Thanks to a network of hundreds of volunteer transporters, Avian Haven is able to accept birds from all over the state.  Complimentary pizza will be served. Location: Patagonia,100 Main St., Freeport. (Store closes at 6:00 pm; doors will open for the event at 6:30 pm.) Free.

Feathers Over Freeport at the Parks:

  • On Saturday, April 29 - Bradbury Mt. State Park in Pownal hosts the event. The line up includes a morning bird walk, the on-going hawk watch at the summit, a hawk watch workshop, a drawing birds workshop by wildlife artist Michael Boardman, a presentation by Center for Wildlife and their ambassador birds, a Be Like a Bird forest immersion walk, a vernal pool exploration, a bird walk for children, and educational displays and games. All details at
  • On Sunday, April 30 - Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park in Freeport hosts the event. The line up includes a morning bird walk, an osprey watch, a springtime plant walk, a storytime with author Maggie Wood, a drawing birds workshop by wildlife artist Michael Boardman, a presentation about the Owls of Maine by Chewonki, a bird walk for children, and educational displays and games. All details at

Volunteer at Feathers Over Freeport!

  • Interested in helping at this annual event? A fun and interactive training session will be held on Sunday, April 23 from 1-4 pm at Bradbury Mt. State Park in Pownal. Training will include how to lead bird activities and walks for children, and Emerald Ash Borer ID and games. Trainers are BPL's Jocelyn Hubbell and ME Inland Fisheries & Wildlife's Laura Craver-Rogers.
    To attend the training you must: 
    • Agree to sign up for a 2-hour shift at Feathers Over Freeport on either 4/29 or 4/30, and 
    • Pre-register by emailing Jocelyn Hubbell.

Thank you!

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Meet Peter Yesis - Allagash Wilderness Waterway Visiting Artist 2023

Oil painting of a woodland pond with waterlilies in the foreground by Peter Yesis.

Above: Oil painting, Perspective, by Peter Yesis. Below: Peter painting at a beach.

Artist Peter Yesis painting at the beach.

A native of New Jersey, Peter demonstrated a natural artistic talent early in life. Not until age fifty did he pivot his career to pursue art professionally. He now works en plein air and from his home studio in Searsport, Maine, painting seascapes, landscapes, wildlife, still-lifes, flowers and figuratives, all in a soft, realistic style.

Peter describes his artistic style stating, "I enjoy the harmony of color in nature. I try to capture what I see but also express mood and sensory experience with color and light. I intentionally leave space for thought and reflection. My goal is to draw viewers' eyes to the underlying beauty as I interpret it, and hold their attention long enough so they can discover and feel something of their own.”

During Peter's two week stay at the rustic cabin at Lock Dam on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW), he will produce sketches and color studies of AWW woodland and water scenes to be used to create exhibitable work in a soft, realistic style, in oils. He will also lead an interactive evening program and an open studio for the public (dates to be announced). During the open studio he plans to review and discuss studies accomplished to date and how they contribute to finished work, and discuss/demonstrate techniques for and the challenges of painting nature scenes in wilderness settings, and water in its many expressions. “Taking Home the Allagash” is the evening program theme. Peter will describe his process for: identifying the scene to paint and “take home;” finding inspiration and emotion in what nature presents; structuring composition to contribute to the narrative; finding movement, contrast, interplay of light and water, and translating sensory experience into paint.

Following his residency, Peter will complete the paintings in his studio. Digital copies of paintings and one original painting will be delivered to the AWW/Bureau of Parks and Lands.  View Peter's art at

~ Mark Deroche, Superintendent of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway

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The Cultural Importance of Brown Ash - April 3 - Online Public Webinar

Ash basket by Richard Silliboy, Vice Chief of Mi’kmaq Nation and basketmaker. Courtesy of U-Maine for use with Ash Workshop promotion.

Ash basket by Richard Silliboy. Photo courtesy Ash Protection Across Wabanakik.

The Cultural Importance of Brown Ash

 April 3, 1-2:30 pm - online - Register for this free event.

Tune in to learn about the evolving cultural and economic relationships Wabanaki people have to brown ash. This session will feature Wabanaki speakers with a variety of experiences in efforts to protect and continue cultural relationships to brown ash, from Maine Indian Basketmaker’s Alliance, to basketmakers, Tribal government members and researchers. Speakers include Richard Silliboy, Vice Chief of Mi’kmaq Nation and basketmaker, Jennifer Neptune, of Maine Indian Basketmaker’s Alliance (Penobscot), Gabriel Frey, brown ash basketmaker and author of The First Blade of Sweetgrass (Passamaquoddy), and Suzanne Greenlaw, PhD Candidate and author of The First Blade of Sweetgrass (Maliseet).

  • Please reach out to Ella at if you have any questions.
  • Learn more about the Ash Protection Collaboration Across Wabanakik and other upcoming events at the APCAW webpage.

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Choose AmeriCorps Service in Maine

Maine Conservation Corps AmeriCorps member in the woods as you to, "Serve with us."

Serve with the Maine Conservation Corps. Visit

Maine Conservation Corps (MCC) AmeriCorps Members are engaged in projects that provide meaningful connections to the outdoors and protect the surrounding environment.

Whether you are a seasoned conservation leader, a person forging a new path, or a retiree seeking new purpose, we've got a spot for you.

Check out the following positions and apply today.

*Field Coordinator and Team Leader positions are not AmeriCorps terms.

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Photos from the Field - All in a Day's Work

Forest technician Jarret Beaulier on a field tour hosted by the Society for the Protection of NH Forests.

Forest Technician Jarrett Beaulier gives two thumbs up to a field tour hosted by Society for the Protection of NH Forests in conjunction with the 102nd Winter Meeting of New England Society of American Foresters. Several staff from Bureau of Parks & Lands attended the 3-day meeting, which covered a diversity of topics applicable to the Bureau’s management of Public Lands.

BPL Forester Mandy Farrar and ME IFW Wildlife Biologist Sarah Spencer inspect an active forest harvest.

Fitting that on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2023), that Bureau of Parks and Lands Forester Mandy Farrar and Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Biologist Sarah Spencer inspected an active timber harvest designed to improve deer habitat at Seboomook Public Land north of Moosehead Lake. The harvest is the result of years of careful monitoring and planning and will result in the long-term presence of the dense spruce canopy cover that deer need to survive Maine’s long winters and deep snow.

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Work Outdoors this Summer! Apply Now

Work in a beautiful location while making a lasting impact. You'll be helping visitors enjoy and learn about the outdoors, and stewarding iconic locations so that they will retain robust ecosystems and be healthy places to recreate for future generations.

Employment opportunities include Rangers, Lifeguards, and Customer Representative Assistants. View the listings and apply now at BPL's Careers and Seasonal Job webpage. Resources include brochures, videos, and a link to the applications and job descriptions.

Campground Hosts Wanted
Become a "resident" volunteer at one of twelve Maine State Park campgrounds and you'll enjoy part-time duties helping our camping guests and providing essential maintenance services. Learn more and apply.

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Beach-nesting Plovers Remind You - April 1: No Pets, Bikes, or Kites on the Beach

Piping Plover adult and chick by Amanda Reed, courtesy of Maine Audubon.

Each year beginning on April 1, all pets (including dogs, and horses), bikes, and kite flying are not allowed on the State Park Beaches in order to protect federally endangered nesting shore birds. Pets, bikes and kite flying will be welcomed back onto the beach October 1, 2023.

Thank you for helping us protect shorebirds and the dune habitat they rely on.

(Photo of Piping Plover adult and chick by Amanda Reed, courtesy of Maine Audubon.)

Reid State Park Temporary Closure Update

Bridge and Park entry reconstruction at Reid State Park.

Photos show the progress of the bridge and park entry booth reconstruction at Reid State Park as of March 29, 2023.

Reid State Park remains closed while construction continues. The sills have come in for the bridge that were backordered and construction is moving forward with the first section of new bridge being placed. The booth has been removed and pavement has been dug up. The next step is to dig the trench. Electricians will then come in to put in the conduit. The slab for the new booth should be delivered next week, and the sections of the new booth have already been delivered! It’s very exciting to see this all take place in real time. I know visitors are anxious to get back, and I am ready to see everyone enjoying the Park again soon!

  • Text REID to 888-514-7527 for the park's alerts and updates. You'll be the first to know when the park reopens.

~ Haylee Parsons, Manager of Reid State Park

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Ice Out Reports - Available Daily Now

Text ICE-OUT to 888-514-7527 to get daily updates on the Maine lakes that have cleared of ice. Visit the Ice Out webpage to view this and past year's listings in sortable tables, and for links to fishing information.

Waste Water - an Exhibit and Collaboration by MITA Volunteers and Eco-artist Mariah Reading

Image from a rocky beach to a forested island. Image underlain with a  circular saw blade held in a hand.

Image courtesy of Maine Island Trail Association.

Waste Water features marine debris that has been collected by Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) volunteers and transformed by the eco-artist Mariah Reading into exquisite and impactful works of art. A portion of the proceeds from all art sales will go towards supporting MITA’s programming. The art will be on view at Casco Bay Artisans in Portland through April 16.

The Maine Island Trail Association is a membership organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the wild islands of coastal Maine. Founded in 1988 to administer the newly established Maine Island Trail, MITA’s founding belief is that people who love to recreate on the islands can be successfully encouraged to play a role in the stewardship of these fragile and treasured places. MITA’s multi-decade success with this is evidenced by the fact that islands on the Trail are often healthier environments than islands that are entirely left alone. To learn how you can volunteer or otherwise help support the MITA mission visit the MITA website.

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is a proud partner of MITA through our Submerged Lands Program.

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

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