Effort planned to clean up trash dumped in Maine’s woods

Posted Sept. 16, 2011, at 6:59 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The illegal dumping of trash in Maine’s woods has become a serious problem, closing down public land used for recreation such as hunting, fishing and hiking. In response, the Maine Forest Service is partnering with the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine to organize a statewide Landowner Appreciation Cleanup Day on Saturday, Oct. 15.

The effort was inspired by events held last year during which volunteers from civic groups and outdoor clubs, as well as other environmental enthusiasts, joined forces to clean up Maine woods ravaged by illegal dumping.

The effort will be even bigger this year. Bill Williams, the forest service’s chief ranger, has pledged the assistance of the agency’s Incident Management Team to help coordinate the event. The team specializes in managing complex emergency responses, as well as large planned events. It will partner with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and SWOAM to help identify the sites that most need attention. The team then will work with the affected landowners to reach out to other organizations and volunteers across Maine to coordinate the event.

“Littering hurts everyone,” Williams said in a press release. “Our effort will be to coordinate volunteers who are willing to give their time to enhance Maine’s environment.”

Last year organizations and volunteers worked together to collect more than 59,000 pounds of trash and nearly 1,500 tires that had been illegally dumped in Maine’s woods. In preparation for the cleanup day, the Maine Forest Service is asking for the help of volunteers to pledge time or provide information about potential locations in need of attention.

To participate or to report any illegal dumping sites, call the Maine Forest Service at 800-750-9777.

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