Forest Rangers seek public help for ‘Landowner Appreciation Day’

Posted Oct. 04, 2011, at 4:48 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 04, 2011, at 7:16 p.m.

Illegal dump sites, such as the central Maine dump site shown here, are being targeted for clean up by the Maine Forest Service forest rangers on “Landowner Appreciation Day,” Oct. 15. Volunteers are being sought for the statewide event (photo courtesy of the Maine Forest Service).

AUGUSTA — Maine Forest Service forest rangers have identified more than 100 illegal dump sites on private land around Maine. Now they’re asking for help in cleaning up those sites.

Volunteers are needed to take part in the MFS “Landowner Appreciation Day,” scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 15, according to MFS officials.

The Maine Forest Service is committed to supplying trucks and trash bags for the cleanup effort, but needs the support of local ATV clubs, snowmobile clubs and concerned volunteers to help load the items.

“Anyone who appreciates the use of privately owned land can help,” MFS Chief Forest Ranger Bill Williams said. “It’s one way of paying back landowners for the privilege of using their land.”

MFS forest rangers are working with the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine (SWOAM) to organize the clean-up event. In preparation, the forest rangers have taken dozens of calls from landowners who have had trash illegally deposited on their property, according to Lt. Jeff Currier, MFS forest ranger and organizer in a press release.

The forest rangers also have obtained specific dump site locations and entered them into a database to track progress on cleaning up the sites.

“So far, we’ve identified more than 100 sites throughout the state,” Currier said. “These dump sites vary from a single, overturned couch and a few discarded car tires to several pickup-truck loads of shingles and mattresses. We really need help in getting these places cleaned up.”

Currier pointed out that when dumping occurs on privately owned land, it can lead to the posting of “no trespassing” signs and the installation of gates that block access to key areas for outdoor recreation.

“If we don’t help private landowners and respect their land, we all lose important, traditional access,” the forest ranger said.

To make it easier for clean-up volunteers, dozens of maps have been created that show the exact dump site locations. Clean-up volunteers who live near an illegal dump site may have to spend only a half hour or less to help clean it up.

In other parts of the country, most undeveloped forest land is posted, and recreationists are required to pay club fees to use locations.

“Cleaning up an illegal dump site sends a strong message to Maine’s private landowners that all outdoor enthusiasts appreciate access to their land,” Currier said.

To volunteer for this important project, please contact the Maine Forest Service at 1-800-750-9777.

For more information on the Maine Forest Service, go to: www.maineforestservice.com