LIMESTONE, Maine — Officials with the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge are reminding the public that the refuge’s lands are closed to hunting, as the site is currently undergoing an aggressive restoration program to create wildlife habitat.
Efforts to restore the land and natural populations have been ongoing since 1998, when 4,700 acres at the former Loring Air Force Base were transferred from the U.S. Air Force to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to Refuge Manager Bill Kolodnicki, efforts to restore the land have included removing former military buildings (except for the historically protected ones, like the bunkers) and bringing back the natural vegetation to help native populations return to the site.
Refuge workers are also helping to restore native populations to the land, like moose, deer and coyote. The refuge is also crucial habitat for an extensive population of neotropical migratory birds.
As the saying goes, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and many public hiking trails have been created for the public at the wildlife haven. In the winter, trails are available for cross-country skiing.
Trails are open from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.
Though the public is reminded that hunting is not permissible on the refuge’s protected lands, restoration efforts have been occasionally marred over the last seven years with intermittent poaching, trespassing and theft.
Officials are furthering habitat management and recreation plans for the refuge, but until planning and restoration are more complete, the refuge will remain closed to hunting.
For information regarding the Aroostook NWR, call 328-4634 or visit fws.gov/northeast/Aroostook.