Volunteers Wanted for Landowner Appreciation Cleanup Day, Saturday, September 14

September 6, 2013

For more information, contact: Jeff Currier at 207-441-2580

AUGUSTA- Landowner Appreciation Cleanup Day is September 14. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Division of Forestry is seeking volunteers for this year’s effort. Forest Rangers working in cooperation with the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine (SWOAM), Maine Snowmobile Association (MSA), ATV Maine, the Boy Scouts of America and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW), as well as other recreational groups, are seeking to clean up more than 100 illegal dump sites in Maine.

In other parts of the country, most undeveloped forest land is posted, and recreationists are required to pay club fees to use locations. Maine landowners have a history of sharing their forest and farm lands with responsible outdoor recreationalists. Millions of acres of working farms and forests are open to the public for enjoyment throughout the year. Unfortunately, the Maine privilege of enjoying access to private lands is threatened every time irresponsible people litter or illegally dump trash.

“Landowner Appreciation Cleanup Day is a way to say thank you to property owners for allowing Mainers and visitors access to private lands for outdoor activities, recreation and enjoyment,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Efforts like this demonstrate that most Maine people understand that public access to private lands is a special privilege to be respected and cherished, not a right.”

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb urged outdoor enthusiasts and organizations to support the effort by volunteering their time and energy. “Department staff and our partner organizations have worked hard to make this annual effort a success,” he said. “It is also symbolic of efforts made throughout the year by people and individuals to help ensure future access to private lands by keeping them clear of trash and debris. The goal is to avoid the posting of ‘no trespassing’ signs and the installation of gates that block access to outdoor recreation.”

The Forestry staff, in cooperation with other state agencies and outdoor recreational groups, has been working with landowners to identify specific dump locations and enter them into a database to track progress on site cleanup. It will supply trucks and trash bags for the cleanup effort, but needs volunteers to help load the items. Dump sites vary from a single piece of discarded furniture, a washing machine or discarded tires to several pickup-truck loads of shingles and mattresses. To make it easier for cleanup volunteers, dozens of maps have been created that show the exact dump site locations. Cleanup volunteers who live near an illegal dump site may have to spend only a half hour or less to help clean it up.

To volunteer for this project, please contact Jeff Currier at (207) 827-1800, or the Maine Forest Service at 1-800-750-9777.