CASTLE HILL, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage joined the mother, father and brother of Marine Cpl. Dustin J. Libby to dedicate a hiking trail on Haystack Mountain Friday in memory of the Marine killed in Iraq five years ago.
“Freedom is not free,” LePage said during remarks at the morning dedication ceremony, noting that Libby “gave his life for his family, his town, his state and his nation.”
Libby was 22 when he was killed during a firefight on Dec. 6, 2006, while leading a squad of 12 men in combat operations in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. On his second tour of duty in the country, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Dustin Libby was born in Presque Isle on Jan. 4, 1984 and graduated from Presque Isle High School’s Adult Education Program in 2003. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2004.
Libby’s parents, Judd and Geni Libby, and brother, Chris Libby, helped the governor unveil a trail-head marker for the newly renamed Dustin J. Libby Trail. They also uncovered a plaque on a bench at the summit of the trail, part of a 215-acre area owned and managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands under the Maine Department of Conservation.
Conservation Commissioner Bill Beardsley assured the Libby family during the ceremony that “we will care for the trail we dedicate today as if it were for our own son.”
Friday’s event was attended by about 50 people, including a contingent of current and retired Marines.
The trail was renamed through legislation sponsored by state Rep. Alexander Willette, R-Mapleton, and passed by the Legislature last March.
Maynard Brothers General Contracting of Presque Isle donated the stone that was engraved for the trail-head marker. The engraving was donated by Aroostook Monuments of Presque Isle.
Haystack Mountain has an elevation of 1,142 feet and is located about 10 miles west of Presque Isle. Hikers reach the summit after a moderate climb of about one-third of a mile.
According to www.mainetrailfinder.com, “The views are spectacular and will not disappoint.” They include views of Mount Katahdin and the Scopan Lake Public Land Unit, wooded forests of the North Maine Woods, farmlands, Maine’s first windmill project on Mars Hill and Aroostook State Park, Maine’s first state park.
For information on Maine state parks and historic sites, go to www.parksandlands.com.