Field Day Showcases Pine Tree Camp

        The 62nd annual Maine Woodland Owners/Tree Farm Field Day unfolded under sunny, temperate skies on Sept. 10 at Pine Tree Camp in Rome, and showed off facilities for campers with disabilities that have been dramatically expanded and improved in recent years. 

        A walking tour emphasized the recreational facilities, while a bus tour along an extensive network of access trails showed off some recent harvesting that remains in keeping with the land’s sensitive ecology. MFS Landowner Outreach Forester Andy Shultz said the harvesting takes place without in any way compromising the water quality of North Pond. Hemlocks, some of considerable age, line the shoreline and provide a barrier against erosion and nutrient flows.

Among the highlights of the forestry tour were patch cuts aimed at removing beech and regenerating more currently valuable species such as red oak and white pine. One recent cut highlighted a large, full-crowned basswood – something tour guide Patty Cormier said was highly unusual – that also accommodated developing pines and oaks. Landings for the various harvests are kept deliberately modest in size. One enhances an old farmhouse site, where grass and old apple trees provide a reflective spot for campers exploring the outer reaches of the property. A more recent landing may be developed as a small parking lot to create greater access to the east end of the woodlot.

     John Starrett, licensed forester and Tree Farm Committee member, was recognized for his long-time involvement with Pine Tree Camp, working first through IP’s Landowner Assistance Program and now with SAPPI. Starrett has managed nearly every harvest on the property since 1991. Andy Shultz said of Starrett, “He has worked through most of the acreage twice, creating a well-stocked woodland poised to provide benefits for decades to come.”

     More than a hundred of those attending gathered in the dining hall for a lively program featuring remarks and presentations by Paul Larrivee, chair of the Maine Tree Farm Committee. Maine Woodland Owners President Richard Nass acted as MC for the event.

     The main address was by Tom Martin, president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation in Washington, D.C., parent organization for the Tree Farm program. Martin offered a survey of national Tree Farm interests based on his challenge to the national board to recognize the program’s 75 years of existence, and project its impact decades into the future.

     Martin said that vigorous forests, clean water, and abundant wildlife are all products of good forestry, and challenged landowners to spread the word to elected officials, and the public, about the benefits Tree Farms provide.

     Tyler Cary, development director for the Pine Tree Society, also spoke, and said that being able to live in the woods is “a life-changing opportunity” for the many children and adults who come each summer. “It’s one of the few times when every one of them feels welcome, included, and with friends.” 

Pictures, below, are from the 62nd Maine Woodland Owners/Tree Farm Forestry Field Day - September 2016.


The accessible tree house is a magnet for campers and visitors.

A group gathers on the deck of the tree house.

On a motorized guided forest tour, demonstrations cover in-depth aspects of forest management.

Tom Martin, president of the American Forestry Foundation, talks about the future of the Tree Farm movement

MFS Outreach Forester Andy Shultz describes forestry strategies on a lakeshore stand of hemlock and hardwood.

The scenic Pine Tree Camp cafeteria is the setting for lunch and a speaker program. Maine Tree Farm Chair, Paul Larrivee, introduces the speakers.

The Sandy River Ramblers entertain.

A teepee hosts programs for campers along the lakeshore.