Most of Maine’s land is forested. Soil & Water Conservation Districts throughout Maine assist private and public land owners with a variety of forest management issues.
Protecting and sharing Maine’s forest heritage
Oxford County SWCD was awarded a Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund grant for the development of a 211 acre wooded property that the District owns in Brownfield into a Demonstration Forest. The Demonstration Forest will become an educational resource area to demonstrate sustainable forestry practices and managing to enhance wildlife habitat, watershed protection, and passive recreation. The District has been working with volunteers on trail planning and improvements, visitor parking area improvements, and kiosk and educational material development.
Oxford County SWCD holds an annual Big Tree Contest to help draw attention to the largest of our native tree species. The District has some State Champs; a White Ash, an American Sycamore and White Swamp Oak, as well as contenders for State titles, most notably, the Tallest American Chestnut Tree on the Eastern Seaboard, standing at a majestic 95 feet on a forested slope in Hebron! This discovery has drawn considerable attention from The American Chestnut Tree Society and national media. This tree will be included in a propagation program conducted by the American Chestnut Tree Society.
Piscataquis County SWCD owns a Demonstration Forest is located on 180 acres in Williamsburg Township. The forest offers hiking, bird watching, hunting, snow shoeing and cross-country ski trails for year round enjoyment. There is an outdoor classroom, picnic tables, and a geocache site. Natural resource and cultural heritage interpretive signs individually designed and made by Piscataquis County High School students guide and teach visitors throughout their forest journey. Brochures are available to the public to explain the significance of each posted location along the trails. The district has provided educational field trips for schools, scouts, families from our region and visitors to the region on many topics including wildlife habitat, vernal pools, soils, forestry best management practices, GPS, cultural heritage tours, merit badge training and more. The forest was considered a pilot site for the State of Maine Nature Based Tourism Itinerary to foster regional community and economic development. The Southern Piscataquis Regional Recreation Map and Guide includes the Demonstration Forest as a recreation and tourism site in this county. The Maine Audubon Society has listed the Demonstration Forest in their “Maine Birding Trails” Directory. The district won two national awards in 2006 for successful community partnerships and for the educational programs that have been held at the forest.
York County Soil & Water Conservation District owns and manages the Sid Emery Demonstration Forest:
In Skowhegan, Maine, Somerset County Soil & Water Conservation District, in collaboration with the Maine Forest Service, offers a variety of workshops at Yankee Woodlot, a prime example of an urban woodlot that highlights production forestry, diverse habitat, and recreation.