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!
I, 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.
I 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!
Backwoods trail riders take note. The official opening for the Perham Stream Bridge on the multi-use trail in Madrid is happening on Saturday, August the 27th at 12 pm. The bridge is at the confluence of Perham and Orbeton Streams in Madrid Township and is a major crossing on the ITS 84/89 snowmobile trails and the Moose Loop ATV trail. This long-awaited, much needed, single-span steel girder bridge replaces a previous bridge which had been damaged during Hurricane Irene.
A ribbon cutting ceremony, complete with free hot dogs and burgers, is the final stage of a three-year collaborative process between the High Peaks Alliance, North Franklin Snowmobile Club, Narrow Gauge Riders ATV club, landowner Mark Beauregard and others. Funding for the bridge included grants from Maine’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP), the Franklin County TIF program and the Betterment Fund. The contractor for the project was N.F. Luce under the direction of Brian Luce. The trail only needed to be closed for one week while the old bridge was removed and the new one was installed. The bridge is now open for public motorized and non-motorized recreation with a vehicle width restriction of 60” (exceptions being made for snowmobile trail groomers). Food and supplies for the event have been donated by local businesses, The White Elephant in Strong, Edmunds Market in Phillips, and the Coca-Cola Bottling Co Distributor in Farmington.
Maine’s multi-use ITS 84/89 trail crosses the Orbeton Stream parcel, an area of working forest conserved through a conservation easement in 2015 secured by the Trust for Public Lands with funding from the Forest Legacy and Land for Maine’s Future programs and many generous donors. The High Peaks Alliance served as a local partner for the Trust for Public Land in establishing the easement which preserves public access to this beautiful trail for riders, bikers, and hikers.
The celebration will be happening at the site of the Perham Stream Bridge. Parking for the event will be on Reeds Mill Road near the intersection with ITS 84/89. Additional parking is available near the Madrid Trail Head of the Fly Rod Crosby Trail Those attending can walk, or take an ATV to the bridge from Reeds Mill Road. A truck will also be available to shuttle people to and from the bridge.
Take Route 4 to Madrid and turn onto Reeds Mill Road. Continue for just under five miles. You will pass the Star Yoga Barn on the left, the ITS 84/89 intersection is at the bottom of the hill and across the bridge.
Just off the Sugarloaf Regional Airport in Carrabassett Valley, Maine is KC’s Creativity Center. This business provides classes on creative pursuits to its patrons. It also hosted the Carrabassett Valley Summer Fest.
Rain forced the sound technicians to wrap the equipment in plastic.
AmeriCorps member, Dylan Cookson, set up and ran a booth from 12 to 6pm. The day was punctuated by rain which forced many of the patrons to leave and many of us to shelter under our pop-up tents.
The Festival had live entertainment in the form of steel drums and country music. Apart from the rain, it was a good day with many people stopping to ask about the High Peaks Alliance and our projects.
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.
On the weekend of July 14th – 17th, Kingfield celebrated its Bicentennial Year and the High Peaks Alliance was there to share the experience.
On Saturday, the 16th, Depot Street was lined with booths. Our own booth was set up and manned by AmeriCorps member and Maine Conservation Corps Environmental Steward, Dylan Cookson, and Trail Master, Bud Godsoe.
The road had been blocked off and made accessible to foot traffic only. Local businesses and non-profits sold sugary snacks and grilled meat. Visitors were walking and socializing all over the town.
We admit, we were not as popular as the booth that sold Root Beer Floats.The High Peaks Alliance sold raffle tickets, hats, and distributed brochures on membership and the Fly Rod Crosby Trail. Those who visited our booth had already walked the streets sampling the local fare. They came with full bellies, and questions about the High Peaks Alliance, the Fly Rod Crosby Trail, and other local outdoor recreation opportunities.
We were fortunate to have many visitors and a great view of the parade. We were even more fortunate to have been assigned a place next to the booth selling ice cream sandwiches. They were some of the most appealing snacks on the street that day and were being sold by a group of industrious local children, saving up for college.
We also earned the support of a number of union Soldiers who happened along our booth.
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.
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.
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.
“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.