High Peaks Alliance Finds Common Ground

The High Peaks Alliance Finds Common Ground

Written by Lloyd Griscom, Sandy River Land Trust, and High Peaks Alliance
Young hiker and HPA supporter near Saddleback Jr.The High Peaks Alliance took shape in 2007 through meetings with groups of hunters, hikers, skiers, ATV and snowmobile enthusiasts from Strong, Phillips and surrounding areas. These groups got together to express their concerns about the future of their backcountry area. HPA has since evolved to represent the “local voice” in conserving land for traditional use, working forest and public access in western Maine’s High Peaks Region.

Our mission is to find the common ground that individuals and groups with diverse interests might share. We recognize that suspicion and hostility between groups of different perspectives must be addressed. Mutual respect is necessary to unleash the power of co-operation, which we believe can help all sides achieve better results.

Our vision includes the connection of High Peaks communities (Eustis, Carrabassett Valley, Kingfield, Salem, Strong, Phillips, Avon, Madrid and Rangeley) through backcountry trails. Building on existing town infrastructure and creating multi-use connections between communities can only add to the quality of our place and economic opportunity for our communities. Click here to read more.

Bud and Ben Godsoe and Betsy Squibb reconnoiter a walking route from Madrid on Beech Hill Road towards RangeleyOur first grass roots project, suggested by Bud Godsoe of Madrid, is the creation of a Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby footpath and trail from Strong (where she is buried), through Phillips (where she lived)  and Rangeley (where she worked) to Oquossoc (where she helped build a chapel) — ending near the new Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum. Ben Godsoe, who grew up in Madrid, took a three-week unpaid leave of absence from his job in Vermont to volunteer for the HPA, working to find a route for the proposed “Fly Rod” Crosby trail. The Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust has offered to help determine potential routes south of the Rangeley Lakes to Oquossoc.

The HPA is currently working with the Bureau of Public Land, ATV Maine, and other clubs to achieve legal routing for ATV’s across the Appalachian Trail between Caribou Valley, Phillips, and Rangeley. In return, motorized groups have offered to help establish non-motorized trails in Madrid and other townships. It is hoped that designated walking, mountain biking, and cross-country ski trails, in addition to the established motorized trails, could set this area apart as a nature tourism destination.

HPA, RLHT, the Sandy River Land Trust and the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust are collaborating to achieve large landscape conservation in this High Peaks Region. Business and civic leaders throughout the area are supporting our efforts including the Rangeley Region Guides and Sportsmen’s Association, Saddleback and Sugarloaf Mountains and Maine Huts and Trails.

Thank you to the Maine Woods Consortium who ran this month’s article on HPA.

Each month Field Notes features a project that we think is well aligned with MWC “desired outcomes” in Landscape Resources, Community Revitalization, and Networked Economies program areas (see outcomes at www.mainewoodsconsortium.org). If you would like to submit your project for consideration, please email Shaunacy Cobb.

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