The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is working with an independent logger to complete the selective timber harvest that was begun at Dodge Point in Newcastle in 2019.
According to Project Manager Stephen Richardson, finishing off the harvest is particularly important due to the status of the timber stand in question. The stand includes white pine that is in very poor condition due to needle-cast disease.
In addition, due to the new presence of red pine scale in Maine, an invasive insect that kills red pine without warning and with no known treatment response, there may be additional cutting in the red pine plantation to remove trees before they are lost to damage. These are trees that were marked for harvest last season but were not cut at that time due to low market demand.
Expected to begin in mid-January, the Bureau’s logger will be accessing the white pine stand from the northern part of the Old Farm Road via the entrance just north of the Dodge Point parking lot. Because of problems with visitors entering the work area in 2020, the parking lot and all trails will be closed during the harvest.
The work is part of a cycle of periodic tree harvesting and maintenance at this location with the goal of maintaining forest health and improving recreational opportunities at Dodge Point, which is one of the Bureau’s most visited properties.
Dodge Point Public Reserved Land in Newcastle is part of the State of Maine Public Lands System, which unlike other state entities is internally funded. The majority of the Bureau’s revenue comes from timber harvesting activities. This revenue in turn is used to maintain and enhance the lands for public enjoyment.
Dodge Point is a special case in that its existence is the result of a partnership between the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and Damariscotta River Association, now Coastal Rivers. Funding from Lands for Maine Future and DRA donors made the original purchase possible. Ownership and management decisions at Dodge Point reside with the Bureau, while Coastal Rivers supporters and volunteers provide local support with upkeep of the trails and property.
The majority of the multi-year harvest plan is already complete. This included re-routing the eastern end of the River-Link Trail and the creation of a new River~Link parking lot and trailhead on the west side of River Road, maintenance and improvements to the Dodge Point parking lot, woods roads, and Ice Pond Dam, and selective cutting with a focus on long-term forest health.
The Bureau’s forestry work continues a tradition begun by former owner Edward Freeman and his crew, who won statewide recognition for their expert woodlot management.
The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is a branch of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The Bureau’s mission is to protect and manage the natural and cultural resources under its care in order to offer a wide range of recreational and educational opportunities and to provide environmental and economic benefits for present and future generations.