Maine Department of Conservation

Bureau of Parks and Lands

Blackwoods Byway Focus Group Meeting

Cherryfield Town Office – August 10, 2004, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

 

Attendees

·        John Titus, Bureau of Parks and Lands (BP&L) Management Plan Coordinator

·        Vern Labbe, BP&L Eastern Lands Regional Manager

·        Cindy Bastey, BP&L Chief Planner

·        Steve Spencer, BP&L Recreation Specialist

·        Bud Hennig, Fox Pond Property Owner

·        Jim Fisher, Hancock County Planning Commission (HCPC)

·        Bret Poi, Maine Department of Transportation, Byways Coordinator (MDOT)

·        Gary Edwards, Down East Resources, Conservation, and Development (DERCD)

·        Bill Fisher, Tunk Lake Camp Owner

·        Charlie Hitchings, Byway Property Owner

·        Susan Burns, Land Use Regulation Commission Planner (LURC)

·        Fred Olday, Local Resident

·        Rich Bard, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Fisheries Biologist (IF&W)

·        Greg Burr, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Fisheries Biologist

·        Ashby Bladen, Friends of Tunk

·        Judy East, Planner, Washington County Council of Governments (WCCOG)

·        Andy Sprague, Cherryfield Resident and Friends of Tunk

·        Brian Hubbell, Camp owner in T10 SD, cyclist, runner

 

Introductions, Purpose of Today’s Meeting – John Titus

Update on Downeast Management Plan Process  – John Titus

Making progress on inventory and analysis of resources; determination of management issues near complete, but need to work more on scoping of issues for the byway portion (purpose of this meeting); will produce a set of management objectives for the Downeast Region this fall; Plan will not address management of private lands or lands under IFW; want to coordinate this plan with the byway plan; need to consider what the property owners are planning.

 

Update on Blackwoods Byway Plan - Jim Fisher and Bret Poi

Jim - Plan submitted in February; document has been reviewed and corrected; Plan seeks a balance of promotion for tourism and economic development and conservation of natural, scenic and historic assets; the Route 182 Byway is close to the Schoodic and Acadia Byways; the three combined provide a rich and varied experience for visitors; would like informational/interpretive signs along the Byway; watching the Calais Branch/DOT planning effort, as this will have an effect on the Byway and public lands.

Bret - the document is ready to go to the Transportation Commissioner; there are different strategies for Byway promotion and conservation among the three Downeast byways (including the Schoodic and Acadia byways).

 

Update on Destiny 2010 Project (Down East SustainableTourism Initiative) - Judy East, Gary Edwards

Judy – Referred to Fermata, Inc. project, (funding being provided by the Governor’s office) to conduct a comprehensive inventory of the "values" of three regions in Maine, including the Down East area.  FERMATA promotes nature, history, and culturally based tourism; emphasis is on a zone of influence; in particular, wilderness experience opportunities in Washington County. They are planning on visiting this area soon; a number of meetings were held in July with regional and state representatives, including Judy, Mark Edwards, Gary Edwards (DERCD), Dianne Tilton, and several land trusts.

John Noll (WCCOG) is working on forming local committees for developing tourism loops, driving tours, etc. Judy formed the committees and John Noll is going to work with them.

Gary - The DESTINY plan is designed to develop partnerships and provide ideas; the website is www.downeastrcd.com where a draft copy of the plan is available; Sea Grant has an online comments box; want to get more comments from the public

Judy - the Plan jumps to goals and objectives but is not strong on inventories and analysis; hope that Fermata, Inc. will help to fill the gaps; there are three byways in the region, and an opportunity to coordinate visitation and land use

 

Update on LURC Comprehensive Planning  - Sue Burns

The Commission has responsibility for 10.5 million acres in the unorganized townships; the current statewide comprehensive plan was adopted in 1997 and took about 15 years to write; not working on anything right now, but planning efforts such as this one will help inform future revisions; have received 5 scenic byway plans for review; BP&L has to undergo the permit process for specific activities (i.e. campsites) like anybody else, some activities, like trail building, do not require a permit.

 

Update on IF&W Projects and Concerns – Gregg Burr

Not familiar with the easement on Catherine’s Mountain; boat launching facility at Tunk Lake is getting an overflow parking area; using the ditch materials from 182 project; MDOT is constructing the lot; purpose is to keep people from parking on the ice; blocking off the area where the hatchery was located. 

In 2006, planning to increase stocking on many of the rivers and ponds; hope to include fair and equitable access on Spring River Lake and Long Pond so that they can continue to stock these ponds; Long Pond might be set up for ice fishing only or closed entirely if trailered ramp is not provided; want better access to Round Pond (people added bass to this pond, which are now traveling up to Long Pond.

Update on Friends of Tunk Projects - Ashby Bladen

Would like a copy of the IF&W easement for the parcels around Catherine’s Mountain; Friends of Tunk has purchased land on Route 182; would like to put in camping, picnicking, tourist information center.

Presented a map indicating 8 prime locations for tourist access; want to promote the region; want to reduce non-point source pollution along Tunk Stream drainage; want to open views along the byway; researching historic public campsites and boat launches to see if any can be re-established

Water quality monitoring - noting issues with water pH and temperature; concerned about conflicts between stocked fish and native fish - e.g. brown trout is European / exotic

Friends of Tunk is a willing to partner in picking up trash, trail clearing.

 

Update on Fox Pond Estate - Bud Hennig

Paid $150K to build the Dynamite Brook Road to provide an alternative entrance and take away public right of way on driveway; boat launching site on Fox Pond seems to be working okay; “Kindle no Fire” signs help; Fox Pond cannot sustain much power boat use; however, the pond is self limiting, so there isn’t a problem with horsepower; have developed a multi-use trail system on the property, which also provides access for firefighting; is a Maine Guide and licensed game propagator; have developed an upland wildlife facility - pheasant, quail and ruffed grouse - the hold over (survival) rate is not very big; we release a few birds every two weeks; runs a small number of grouse hunts on his land, some bear hunts,

Do not personally need an ATV experience on the Donnell Unit, but think that ATV use should be considered in this Plan.  People of my age and the reasons we use ATV’s on this property are not the cause of the statewide ATV problem; will consider allowing his property to be used as a link in an ATV system, but want to have the option of shutting it down if there is abuse; have purchased firefighting equipment for use on the property.

 

Summary of Issues

Is the Ice Age Trail part of the discussion? [Research indicates that this trail probably did not follow along the Byway route].

There are concerns about large RVs being attracted to the Byway corridor.

There are ongoing general concerns about safety on the road; advocate for reducing speed limits along sections of the Byway.

Some want to promote the Byway, some don’t.

There is need for informational signage along Byway.

There are questions about horsepower limits – which are generally not imposed unless there is a safety issue. 

Try to avoid management decisions that make people have to buy two motors.

There is need to assure fair access in order to permit stocking.

Need to be cautious about boat launching symbols in the old atlases.  A boat symbol may not accurately represent a public boat launching area, or one that accurately depicts the kind of launching that can occur.

Don’t really want to see more motorboats on Spring River Lake, but more concerned about jet skis.  

There are practical limits to what kinds of boats will be used on some ponds.

There are ongoing concerns about the introduction of invasive aquatics.

Need to post educational signage about invasive aquatics and fire prevention.

There are ongoing concerns about open fires along the shorelines.

A decision on the future use of the Calais Branch abandoned rail line will have an impact on the Byway.

Would like to have bridle trails in the area - but horses can be spooked by ATVs.

 

Stewardship

John - would like to talk about partnerships and stewardship (discussion turned mostly to problems with littering and dumping of waste)

Bud - spent a lot of time collecting trash along the byway, but the problem is unending.  Would like to have had some support from the state.  There seems to be less trash this year. 

Andy - just did a big clean up on Route 182; would like to have help from the State in picking up the bags of trash; would also like to investigate whether there is a way to photograph people who are littering; piles of trash may also be purposely dumped to discourage people from using some areas.

Vern – BP&L has worked with other agencies who have provided cameras in the past - might be helpful in monitoring trouble spots; Bureau staff currently pick up trash along the byway, but mostly in areas not seen from the road.  BP&L recently worked with the Maine Forest Service, who took the lead on enforcement action on the Rocky Lake Unit with some success.

 

Next Steps  - Upcoming Meetings – John Titus

Please think about stewardship ideas, and pass them on to the Bureau.

August 24th Franklin Community Center – focus group meeting with off-road vehicle community

Public Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for September 14th (6:00 PM to 9:00 PM) at the American Legion Hall in Cherryfield - Open to the public

Meeting concluded at 3:20 PM