Results and Accomplishments
The AMC recently completed an ecological assessment of the Katahdin IronWorks property, which provided information on ecologically significant areas on the property and will help guide future management. The property has a high level of biological diversity, with 30 distinct natural vegetation communities mapped during the survey ranging from lowland bogs, marshes and swamps to subalpine summits. Mature hardwood and softwood forests contain 300-year-old spruce, 400-year-old cedar, and sugar maple and yellow birch exceeding three feet in diameter.
The AMC has designated roughly 10,000 acres of the 37,000-acre KIW property as a non-motorized ecological reserve with a focus on habitat protection. This is as large as the biggest reserves currently designated on Maine state lands. The reserve will protect the headwaters of the West Branch of the Pleasant River, a Class A river, and abuts land already protected around Gulf Hagas, the Appalachian Trail and The Hermitage.
To date, AMC trail crews have created more than ten miles of new trails for hiking and cross-country skiing on the property. Additional trails are planned.
The AMC has been working with local snowmobile clubs to make sure snowmobile trails are well signed and to keep ski trails and snowmobile trails separate wherever possible.
The AMC hired Huber Resources Corporation as its forest management consultant, and Huber has completed a forest inventory and is developing a sustainable forest management plan that ensures natural forest composition and structure, maintains and enhances biological diversity, protects water quality, supports the integrity of reserve areas, and complements recreational uses of the property.
AMC completed an initial harvest of 5,300 cords of low-grade hardwood in 2004 that was sold to Maine mills. The AMC paid a Maine logging crew to conduct the harvest, under the supervision of Huber Resources. Another harvest is under way this summer. We intend to use our forestry operation as an educational tool to broaden awareness of sustainable harvesting techniques, and how they can co-exist with other land management goals, such as recreation.
The AMC continues to engage local communities and user groups near the Maine Woods Initiative project area. AMC officials have presented details of the project to the Selectmen of Greenville, Brownville and Milo, the County Commissioners of Piscataquis County, and the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council. In 2004, 18 county officials, educators, and businesspeople visited AMC operations in northern New Hampshire to learn about AMC’s programs and experience in working with local communities. More than sixty community leaders from across Piscataquis County heard about progress on the Maine Woods Initiative during a fall 2004 reception in Greenville.
The AMC worked in cooperation with the towns of Greenville and Brownville and local snowmobile clubs on planning the first-ever 100-Mile Wilderness Dog Sled Race, which traversed AMC’s Katahdin Iron Works property. Plans are under way for a second race this coming winter.
Members of the press attended a June 2005 tour of the AMC’s Katahdin Iron Works property and a reception with town and county officials at the AMC’s Little Lyford Pond Camps. The event generated press coverage in Bangor-, Portland-, and Boston-based media.