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!

Perham Stream Bridge

Perham Stream Bridge

MADRID:

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.

Directions:

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.

Carrabassett Valley Summer Fest

Carrabassett Valley Summer Fest

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.

 

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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 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.

High Peaks Alliance at Kingfield Festival Days

High Peaks Alliance at Kingfield Festival Days

On the weekend of July 14th – 17th, Kingfield celebrated its Bicentennial Year and the High Peaks Alliance was there to share the experience.

20160716_122434On 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.

20160716_080808We 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.

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