Volunteer trash clean-up project on Saturday to show respect for landowners

Posted Sept. 20, 2010, at 3:44 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Landowners in 14 communities will be recognized Saturday, Sept. 25, by the state’s Landowner Relations Program (LOR) which has organized a clean-up day to help their land of trashed dumped on their properties.

The clean-up day — the first to be held by the state program — is being organized “because of the concern we hear about trash being dumped, and then landowners restrict access to their property,” Bob Duplessie, LOR director said. “The main reason we’re holding this clean-up is to show landowners respect and that people do care about their property.”

The clean-up will start at 9 a.m., Saturday, with volunteer teams from ATV, snowmobile, and sportsman clubs, plus land trusts, doing the work, Duplessie said. About 15 organizations, some with several volunteer teams working in different locations in each community, will take part, he said. A small grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund is helping with some of the costs.

The communities involved are: Augusta, Winslow, Hampden, Limington, Standish, Sebago, Oxford, Waterford, Waterboro, Millinocket, Orono, Veazie, Old Town and Presque Isle, according to the Department of Conservation.

The Landowners Relations Program is a joint program operated by the Maine Department of Conservation (MDOC) and the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (DIF&W) designed to help the relationship between private landowners and recreation groups. As LOR program director, Duplessie is responsible for coordinating efforts by the state’s natural resource agencies, other governmental agencies, landowners, and other interested groups, to ensure that the tradition of appropriate public use of public and private lands continues.

In addition to MDOC and DIF&W, the Maine State Planning Office, The Nature Conservancy, Central Maine Power Co. and Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine are supporting the clean-up, Duplessie said.

Some 23 trash sites within the communities have been identified, and they are truly awful, Duplessie, who has numerous photos of the trash heaps, said. The sites contain household trash, furniture and tires, with more than 900 tires counted, he said.

Some suspected violators include garages dumping the tires and also individuals who want to avoid municipal dump fees.

Duplessie is blunt, however, about those who are dumping the trash. “We don’t always know who is doing it, but they are people who really have a total lack of respect for landowners and natural resources,” he said.

Some violators have been identified and prosecuted in the past year by the Maine Forest Service and DIF&W wardens from evidence left in the trash, he said. “If we can identify them, we will,” Duplessie said. “They’re just not really too smart.”

For more information about the Landowner’s Appreciation Clean-up Day, contact Bob Duplessie, LOR director, at (207) 557-9924 or by emailing: robert.duplessie@maine.gov

For more information about the Landowners Relations Program, go to: http://www.maine.gov/lor/

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