Ribbon Cutting Perham Stream Bridge

Ribbon Cutting Perham Stream Bridge

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This past Saturday was the perfect day for a cookout. The sun was out, a slight breeze was in the air, and people came from all over Franklin County to join us in the backwoods of Madrid.

This past June, the High Peaks Alliance saw the completion of the Perham Stream Bridge ProjectThe Bridge is the final product of a three-year collaborative project between the High Peaks Alliance, North Franklin Snowmobile Club, Narrow Gauge Riders ATV club, landowner Mark Beauregard, and others. On Saturday, August the 27th, the High Peaks Alliance and clubs all came together to celebrate the bridge’s completion with a cookout and ribbon cutting ceremony.

Vehicles lined up on the Reed’s Mills’ roadside. Bicyclists, ATV riders, snowmobile riders, community members, and several local officials converged on the bridge for the cookout. The event was attended by 50 to 6o people, much more than was expected. Food and beverages were donated by area businesses including the White Elephant of Strong, Maine, Edmund’s Market of Phillips, Maine, and the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Farmington, Maine.

Members of the press from Franklin County Newspapers came to cover the event and some of their articles have already been published. This lovely piece was written by Lauren Abbate for the Morning Sentinal and the Kennebec Journal. Valarie Tucker, a Special Correspondent for the Franklin Sun Journal  wrote this article.

20160827_124636Among the attendees were Senator Tom Saviello of Wilton, Maine, Franklin County Commissioner Gary T. McGrane, Ralph Luce of the North Franklin Snowmobile Club, and Charlie and Kathy Gould of the Narrow Gauge Riders ATV Club. Several HPA board members were present, as well as a local Game Warden. Nancy Perlson acted as the High Peaks Alliance’s spokesperson. [Tucker 2016]

Senator Saviello, Nancy, Commissioner McGrane, and Ralph Luce all spoke in front of the assembled attendees before the ribbon cutting. Commissioner McGrane stressed how important projects like this were to Maine’s Economy. Though the effects are not always visible, non-profits contribute $10 billion to Maine’s economy and volunteers contribute 350,000 hours of their time every year. [Tucker 2016] He also made the observation that the bridge provided connectivity between sections of Franklin County that expanded the economic impact of outdoor recreation and sports. [Abbate 2016]

 

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Senator Tom Saviellio addressing the crowd.

Senator Saviello congratulated the organization and collaboration that went into the completion of the bridge, saying “That’s why this success lays out here because you did it together.” [Abbate 2016]

 

Public access is a major interest of the High Peaks Alliance. The bridge is just one of many trail connectivity, and economic development issues that the High Peaks Alliance has worked to address. As Nancy Perlson put it, “For this region, as most of you probably know, backcountry recreation is kind of the backbone of the regional economy. So it’s important to have these kinds of facilities and infrastructure that let people safely and comfortably enjoy what we have to offer.” [Abbate 2016]

The old bridge had been patched together from the remains of old riveted iron beams salvaged from the railroad and was becoming unsafe. Ralph Luce commented that when pulling trail grooming equipment over the bridge, he could feel the bridge’s failing structure reacting to the weight. [Abbate 2016]

The support girders were badly rusted and the center support was washed out by Tropical Storm Irene in 2012. The new bridge doesn’t require a support in the stream and was able to utilize the existing granite cribbing to minimize impacts on the stream which is a tributary of the Orbeton, which supports native brook trout and Atlantic salmon.

The multi-use trail which accesses the Perham Stream bridge, crosses through six thousand acres of working forest, which was recently protected by a conservation easement in partnership with the Trust for Public Land. Funding from the Forest Legacy Program, the Land For Maine’s Future program and many generous donors supported the acquisition of the conservation easement. The Linkletter family continues to own the land and harvest trees. Income from tree harvests and the easement sale support their mill operation and contribute to the region’s forest products economy. The High Peaks Alliance served as a local partner for the TPL, organizing critical local public support for the project. Public support allowed the project to successfully compete for funding and established the terms of the easement which preserves the beautiful trail for multi-use public access.

The High Peaks Alliance was grateful to meet with so many members of the Franklin County community and is especially appreciative of our collaborative partners with the North Franklin Snowmobile Club and Narrow Gauge Riders. We would like to thank those that donated food to our celebration from the White Elephant, the Coca-Cola bottling Company, and Edmund’s Market. And, an especially grateful thank-you to those who provided our funding at the Franklin County TIF Committee, the Betterment Fund, and the Maine RTP Program.

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Citations:

Tucker, V. (2016, August 28). Bridge spanning Perham Stream now open.Franklin Sun Journal. Retrieved August 29, 2016, from http://www.sunjournal.com/news/franklin/2016/08/28/bridge-spanning-perham-stream-now-open/1983987

Abbate, L. (2016, August 27). Perham Stream Bridge completion touted as successful collaboration. Morning Sentinal. Retrieved August 29, 2016, from http://www.centralmaine.com/2016/08/27/perham-stream-bridge-completion-touted-as-successful-collaboration/

Completion of the Perham Stream Bridge

Completion of the Perham Stream Bridge

ATV riders heading North on ITS 89 through Madrid Township along the Aaron Holbrook Memorial Trail are sure to notice some changes when they approach the Perham Stream Bridge. This summer a collaborative project between the North Franklin Snowmobile Club and the High Peaks Alliance has reached completion.

The 60-foot section of the bridge crossing the Perham Stream has been completely replaced with a modern single-span girder bridge. The old bridge had been patched together from the remains of old salvaged railroad riveted iron beams and was becoming unsafe. The support girders were badly rusted and the center support was washed out by Hurricane Irene.

In 2013 the High Peaks Alliance and the North Franklin Snowmobile Club secured a TIF grant for the engineering and design of the new Perham Stream Bridge. Since then, the High Peaks Alliance has continued working with the North Franklin Snowmobile Club to secure funding and coordinate the construction of the bridge. Making use of TIF and Recreational Trail Plan grants construction of the new bridge started mid-June and was completed on Friday, June 24th.

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We would like to thank Brian Luce of N.F. Luce Inc, the North Franklin Snowmobile Club, the Franklin County TIF Committee, the Recreational Trails Program, and the Narrow Gauge Riders ATV Club who generously committed some of their own TIF funding for the project.

Maine’s Brook Trout Treasure

By Ben Hanstein • Jan 8th, 2009 • Category: Features, Outdoors

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FARMINGTON – Representatives from a state agency are meeting with Maine guides, sporting camp owners and other outdoor enthusiasts to discuss a plan to highlight one of the state’s finest recreational resources.

Brook trout, which are fond of small streams and ponds, are a favorite of anglers. Maine has the largest population of the fish, in more than 1,135 lakes and  22,250 miles of stream. Furthermore, the state has the largest number of “wild” brook trout, whose populations do not rely on stocking.

This, combined with the allure of the Maine wilderness, makes many local guides feel that the state could be drawing more people who are interested in a unique fishing experience.

That’s where the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife comes in. The  state agency is interested in helping develop a marketing tool for use by those interested in fishing in Maine. This plan, which could consist of a Web site among other possibilities, would provide would be tourists with information on where the fish are, where good places to stay the night could be, put them in contact with guides and so forth.

“I think a lot of people would enjoy the remoteness of the ponds here,” IFW biologist Forrest Bonney said. “The feeling is we’re not really advertising this well.”

Bonney and others in IFW are talking with guides about something called the Brook Trout Initiative. This would be designed to simultaneously elevate Maine’s brook trout fishing’s visibility nationally, and provide people interested in taking a trip to Maine with complete vacation packages.

Currently, Canada and Montana both use an interactive Web site similar to ones envisioned as part of the Brook Trout Initiative.

A major issue is, of course, funding. With the state already facing a budget shortfall, and a grim national economic picture, there isn’t a lot of money available.

“Marketing is dollars,” said Marc Edwards, of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

The exact nature of the initiative’s audience also is under debate. Guides at a meeting held in Farmington said that they were seeing changes within their customers’ demographics. More and more people are paying the guides to fish for the experience, rather than because they always have taken a week off in the summer to come up to Maine.

“These folks go to places you’ve never heard of,” Maine Master Guide Milt Baston said. “We need to find these people.”

This new generation of fishing enthusiasts tend to be younger, and more receptive to the Internet as a source of information. Edwards, who specializes in getting other organizations the tools they need to market themselves effectively, called this “e-word of mouth.”

For now, the IFW is continuing to gather information from guides across the state. At some point, a document will be drafted with the Brook Trout Initiative’s proposals. Then, supporters will look into ways of funding it.

Whatever happens, those at Thursday night’s meeting agreed, that brook trout could represent a great way to draw more people to the state.

“It’s arguably the most beautiful fish in the world,” as one guide put it.