Timber harvesting and infrastructure improvements planned for Dodge Point

Timber harvesting and infrastructure improvements planned for Dodge Point

Road improvements beginning this week

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is planning a selective timber harvest at Dodge Point this winter and next. Road improvements associated with the timber harvest, along with improvements to the Old Farm Road Trailhead Parking Lot and Ice Pond Dam, are slated to start this week.

The work is part of a cycle of periodic tree harvesting and maintenance at this location with the goal of maintaining forest health and improving recreational opportunities at this popular preserve.

Dodge Point Public Reserved Land in Newcastle is part of the State of Maine Public Lands System, which is unique in that it is self-funding with the majority of the revenue being derived from timber harvesting. Revenue from timber harvesting is subsequently used to maintain and enhance the lands for public enjoyment.

Dodge Point is a special case in that a partnership from the very start between the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and Damariscotta River Association, now Coastal Rivers, has allowed not only for the purchase of the land, but also for continued additional improvements and maintenance.

Ownership and management decisions at Dodge Point rest squarely with the Bureau, but Coastal Rivers donors and volunteers continue to assist with upkeep of the trails and property. Coastal Rivers also provides local input on property and trail usage, as well as assisting in the maintenance of the dock so that users can visit by water. Notably, Land for Maine’s Future was the core public funding source for the original purchase of Dodge Point, again leveraging hundreds of thousands of private dollars.

Phase one of the harvest plan is already complete. This included re-routing part of the River-Link Trail and creating a new parking lot and trailhead on the west side of River Road.

Anticipated next steps in the harvest plan will include upgrades to existing woods roads starting the week of October 14, and finally selective cutting over the next two winters first on the west side of the River Road and subsequently in certain sections of the eastern side. Concurrent with this work will be some maintenance and improvements to the existing parking lot and Ice Pond Dam.

The Bureau’s work will continue a tradition begun by former owner Edward Freeman and his crew, repeated winners of statewide recognition for their thoughtful woodlot management. The large timber at Dodge Point is a testament to that legacy of careful natural resource management over almost a century.

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is a branch of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The Bureau is dedicated to the careful management of half a million acres of public lands so that they continue to provide recreation, wildlife and timber benefits for years to come.

Photo: Coastal Rivers volunteers and staff assisted BPL with erosion control and the construction of steps and an observation platform at the dock at Dodge Point earlier this month. Taken by volunteer Kris Christine.