Changes at Morgan Meadow

Throughout the summer, you may have noticed heavy equipment and loud noises coming from Morgan Meadow. Accessible shortly before the Gray town line on Egypt Road, this 1,072 acre parcel of land has provided hiking, snowshoeing and other recreational opportunities for years. With rumors of the state clear cutting the property, I began asking questions.

I have discovered that the state owns Morgan Meadow, and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is responsible for maintaining it. The Department’s main mission is to manage the wildlife area, and they have now begun what they call a Harvest Habitat Enhancement Cut. Although this is not a clear cut, there will be wide clearings because the objective is to create edges of fields and woods, places the animals are drawn to. Having not been cut in 30 years, trees are maturing, crowding out quality trees and restricting the habitat.

In July, the Raymond Conservation Commission met with state biologists to learn more about this project and how it would affect the meadow. Residents from both Raymond and Gray were invited to attend this meeting to learn if and how it would impact their properties. The state informed the group that they would need to build a road, wide enough to be easily accessible for logging trucks to perform the cut, from one end of the meadow to the other. The work that I witnessed this summer was the development of that road.

Work will now begin to remove selected trees, thus making the meadow a better habitat for the wildlife. The meadow consists of mixed forest land and significant wetland habitat. There are stands of black birch, an uncommon tree species in Maine, and mature, white pine trees up to three feet in diameter. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is committed to improving the productivity of the wetland for a number of waterfowl species, including black ducks, wood ducks, mallards, non-game water-dependent birds, and mammals. It is also a popular deer hunting spot.

Interested in seeing the progress thus far, I recently visited the meadow. I began walking on the new road, and I was happy to discover the trail that veers off to the right, leading up a steep hill offering quaint views, was still in tact. I was easily able to follow many of my favorite trails and they seemed unchanged. However, when I slightly wondered off the trail, I quickly found many trees marked with blue paint. These are the trees to be harvested. Although there were only clumps scattered here and there, the process of removing them is inevitably going to cause some damage.

I eventually made my way back to the new logging road and followed it for a while. It is difficult, if not impossible, to create a road large enough for logging trucks without changing the landscape of the land, and this was immediately evident. The area in which I was walking did not at all resemble the quiet and deep forest I had just been in. I discovered several large open areas that had already been cut.

I understand the new road has been added to make the harvesting easier and the harvesting is going to make the wildlife healthier and happier. Even with the best intentions, however, the meadow will not be the same. I have been invited to join the representatives from the state in a guided tour where I can learn more about the future of the meadow. I will keep you updated as this project progresses.

Getting Carded

The American Library Association has deemed September Library Card Sign-Up Month, and the Raymond Village Library wants to be sure your family has a library card. Studies show that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school and are more likely to continue to use the library as a source of lifetime learning. Kids can go to the library to get homework help and borrow books, and they can also check out music, DVDs and use the Internet, all for free.

The Raymond Village Library encourages everyone to take advantage of this reminder, especially at the start of the new school year. A library card can be the most important educational item of all, and it costs absolutely nothing. The library is open Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Stop by and get your card today.

Hitting the Trails

The people in Raymond never cease to amaze me. Over the past few weeks, I have heard from several women who are planning to participate in the upcoming walk to benefit cancer, many with their husbands and children. The Cancer Community Center’s Third Annual Hit the Trails Walk, Run, or Stroll will be held Sunday, Sept. 21 at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester and walkers of all ages, levels and ability are invited to join others on the beautiful wooded trails.

The Cancer Community Center provides support groups, educational workshops, wellness programs and social activities and events at no charge to those with cancer and their families.

There is no fee to participate in Hit the Trails. Walkers have the option of a one mile stroll, a 5K walk or a 10k run. To support this important cause, please consider sponsoring a Raymond walker or participate in this event yourself. For more information, simply log onto www.firstgiving.com/ccc.

Book Group

Once again, it is time for the book group to meet. This month, book clubbers will be reading and discussing “A River out of Eden” by John Hockenberry. The group will meet Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. at the library. Copies of the book will be available upon request. For more information, please call the library at 655-4283.


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