One of the chief obligations of the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust (and most other land trusts!) is stewardship. Stewardship means taking care of the lands the land trust owns or holds conservation easements over, by making sure that the terms under which the property was conserved are adhered to. We do this by getting out on the properties and inspecting them – sometimes multiple times per year – to ensure that boundaries are marked if necessary, or that there aren’t illegal activities taking place. Many of the properties the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust has stewardship responsibilities over are remote and hard to access. But at the same time, they are some of the most rewarding landscapes to visit, due to their unique qualities and unparalleled natural beauty.
We generally monitor our properties in the fall when the leaves are down, but as you know the weather in Maine can be very tricky. In the slideshow above, we ventured out with representatives of Appalachian Trail Conservancy on a joint monitoring trip to Mount Abraham. With nearly a foot of snow on the ground, the going was tough. But we were able to hang a new sign in an area where snowmobiles have been entering the Mount Abraham ecological reserve area (where motorized vehicles are not permitted), find boundary markers and venture into a part of the 7,000+ acre reserve area that is seldom visited.
We also hold conservation easements on land that is not as remote. These photos (with stewardship volunteer Olin Jenner) show some of the permitted structures, boundary markers and terrain on a 40+ acre easement on a hunting camp lot along the Appalachian Trail. The entire perimeter can be walked in a few hours, but since there are multiple use areas there are details to investigate. And as usual, be prepared!
Stewardship is not like any old obligation the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust has – it has it forever. When the land trust agrees to acquire land or easements, we understand that this means we have a contract with the public to ensure that the benefits of this landscape are protected. For help with these obligations we are very thankful to have volunteers, but we can always use more!
If you are interested in getting out on the land with us and learning a skill for resume building in the conservation world, contact us at 207-808-2073 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org!