GREENVILLE, Maine — How the forest has played and continues to play a significant role in the Moosehead Lake region is the focus of Forest Heritage Days on Friday and Saturday.
The event, which is 20 years old this year, is all about sharing the rich heritage of the working forest of Maine, its history, present practices and its future.
“Everything [in the Moosehead region] was tied to the woods in some way,” Elaine Bartley, a Forest Heritage Committee member, said Tuesday of earlier years. Residents and their relatives either worked in the woods or were employed in service industries that provided for the woodsmen, she said.
“I remember going [to the celebration] as a kid, and my dad was involved at the time,” Bartley said. “I am extremely proud of the area of the state from which I come and where I was born, and I think it’s very important that people connect with their heritage and understand what has made them and their area so special.”
To share that heritage, the Forest Heritage Committee has planned a variety of events for the public, including a bus tour of locations pertaining to forest practices, as well as logging competitions and exhibitions of old and new equipment. In addition, there will be a craft fair.
On Friday, the bus tour will take participants to a Harford’s Point woodlot to view timber stand improvement work, a firewood operation, and forest road construction. From there, the bus will go to the East Outlet of Moosehead Lake where biologist Tim Obrey of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will give an overview of the objectives and results of the Upper Kennebec River Management program. The tour will continue to an active logging operation in Bowdoin College West Township and then will stop for a lumberjack lunch at Lily Bay Storehouse. After lunch, the tour will continue to Plum Creek land to learn about its open-land policy and its Moosehead Conservation easement, as well as winter public road harvesting and pre-commercial thinning.
The tour, the only event with a fee, is $35 for adults, $28 for seniors 65 years and older and youths 12 and under. To reserve a seat, call 280-3922.
When the bus returns to Greenville at about 2 p.m., the Colby College Woodsmen’s team will hold an exhibition of old-time logging skills.
Saturday’s events will pit top competitors around the state in events such as speed cut, bore cut, precision stump, spring pole, precision bucking and precision felling.
Forest Heritage Days also has a giving component. Chain saw-carved items will be raffled off and the proceeds given to the Children’s Miracle Network. Organizers hope to exceed the $1,000 raised last year for the network.
Local merchants have donated items to be awarded throughout the event. It’s a chance to have fun while learning something new, according to Bartley.
“The people in this area have been taking care of these woods for several years and so it’s very important that people take pride in where they come from and understand who they are as a people and their culture,” Bartley said.