Rangeley Trail Town Festival

20160903_111512On Saturday, September 3rd 2016, the town of Rangeley celebrated their annual Trail Town Festival. It has been four years since Rangeley was designated an official Appalachian Trail Community in 2012.

The High Peaks Alliance joined them for their celebration. The Fest included many food vendors and several games and activities including boot-tossing and corn hole. AT hikers competed with each other in ice cream eating competitions.

Other attractions included live music by a local musician and the Friday night film festival.

Once again , Maine Conservation Corps and AmeriCorps member, Dylan Cookson setup the High Peaks Alliance tent next to Jeff McCabe of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the representatives of the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust.

During the course of the day, High Peaks Alliance board members Bud Godsoe and Betsy Squibb assisted in running the booth. Members of local radio stations went about interviewing the representatives of various organizations at their booths. At once point, Dylan was asked to speak to the assembled visitors from the microphone at Haley Pond Park gazebo.

It was a satisfying visit to Rangeley. Many people stopped near the booth to ask about the HPA and its programs.

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/

Rangeley Region Guides and Sportsmen Association’s Outdoor Sporting Heritage Day

Rangeley Region Guides and Sportsmen Association’s Outdoor Sporting Heritage Day

Rangeley Region Guides and Sportsmen Association threw its annual Outdoor Sporting Heritage Day on August 9th. This year’s theme was Dogs, and I could not have been happier!

20160809_115837I, Dylan Cookson, AmeriCorps member, and MCC Environmental Steward am a big fan of Dogs! And there were eager, friendly, four-legged friends everywhere.

There were vendors selling dog collars and scarfs, dog treats, and dog artwork. Towards the end of the day, many of the visiting dog owners brought their dogs together for a splash competition in the clubhouse pond.

Children and teens would throw objects for dogs to fetch into the pond. The object was to get the dog to make the largest splash they could.

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20160809_111227I attended the event with board members, Kirby and Elaine Holcombe. We had many
people stop by the booth to purchase raffle tickets, and ask about our projects. We also had a visit from member Nancy Perlson and her handsome Australian Shepherd Puppy, Scout.

That’s him on the right. Isn’t he precious!

The High Peaks Alliance at the Farmington Summer Fest

20160723_131339 (2)The Farmington Downtown Association threw the 2016 Farmington Summer Fest on Friday, and Saturday, July 22nd, and 23rd. On Saturday the 23rd, Broadway was closed off to automobiles and the street was filled with booths from local vendors and non-profits.

For the second time in the month of July, the High Peaks Alliance set up its booth and presented its mission to visitors, walking the streets of a High Peaks community.

This time, AmeriCorps member and Maine Conservation Corps Environmental Steward, Dylan Cookson was joined by Amie Daniels from the Maine Conservation Corps, and High Peaks Alliance Treasurer, Scott Landry.

Farmington is a college town and there were a lot of young people on the streets. There were yoga demonstrations, cheap pizza, and people dancing in human-sized Pikachu costumes.

We were once again selling raffle tickets, our HPA hats, and t-shirts, and handing out brochures for membership and the Fly Rod Crosby Trail.

We had a fantastic time speaking to the people of Farmington and many of them came with eager questions and anecdotes about the High Peaks Area. we were lucky to meet a friend of Trail Master Bud Godsoe, who plays with Bud in the Sandy River Ramblers.

It seemed like Scott knew everyone in town. And often could be seen walking the streets with his camera, capturing the hustle and bustle of the celebrating town.

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.

Birds of Mount Abraham

Birds of Mount Abraham

West Kingfield: The hills have feathers! Birds that nest at higher elevations may do so a little later in the season than their lower elevation cousins. Earlier this year, the High Peaks Alliance offered to take eager bird watchers on the trail to hear the spring birds in the forests of Madrid. Now, the High Peaks Alliance will be leading a hike on Mount Abraham in West Kingfield, on Friday the 8th of July.

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Pete McKinley

If past birding in this area is any indication we should be hearing, seeing and identifying dozens of species of birds, everything from the Bicknell’s and Swainson’s Thrushes, to the Black Throated Green and Blackpoll Warblers,” says High Peaks Alliance Board Member and Wilderness Society Ecologist Peter McKinley. Even without the bird life, there is plenty to see and talk about in this spectacular unobstructed scenery of the high peaks above treeline.

 

McKinley and Maine Conservation Corps AmeriCorps member Dylan Cookson will be leading the hike, rain or shine. The event is free and welcomes all levels of birders. In addition to binoculars, those joining the walk should wear sturdy shoes and bring water, lunch and snacks, rain gear just in case, and a good insulating layer such as a fleece jacket, sunscreen and DEET-based repellents for warding off ticks.

The adventure will be 8.5-mile round trip and take up the better part of the day. The terrain includes some moderately steep uphill sections of trail and a little uneven walking in places, but we have taken many a newcomer to hiking up and back and happy they went. We would meet at Tranten’s Grocery store in Kingfield at 9 in the morning and carpool in the West Kingfield to Rapid Stream Road to the trailhead, about a 15-minute drive on pavement and gravel road. For more information about the walk, call 416-4952. For information about the trail, log onto http://www.highpeaksalliance.org.

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Raffle Update

The High Peaks Alliance is pleased to announce that we have received two new prizes available for our ongoing raffle!

River's Edge SportsThe first of the new donations comes to us from River’s Edge Sports of Oquossoc, Maine. River’s Edge generously donated a pair of books on the History of the Rangeley Lakes Region. “The Rangeley and Its Region” and “A History of Rangeley Hotels & Camps,” are must haves for history buff who are fond of the Rangeley Lakes and the history of outdoor sports.

 

The second new donation comes from Chandler Pond Outfitters in Farmington. This very generous donation is a 13 foot Fly Rod made by the WFTFL*Y company.

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We would like to offer our most sincere thanks to community businesses for donating to our raffle. All proceeds from our raffle go to benefit the High Peaks Alliance and its programs. If you would like to purchase a raffle ticket please contact Dylan Cookson at (207) 416-4952 or visit these area businesses to purchase raffle tickets in their storefronts:

Chandler Pond Outfitters

–108 Fairbanks Rd Farmington, ME

The White Elephant

— 26 S Main St, Strong, ME 04983

Village Scrub Board

–2391 Main St, Rangeley, ME 04970

Video Habits

–2391 Main St, Rangeley, ME 04970

Ecopelagicon

— 7 Pond St, Rangeley, ME 04970