Annual Upper Androscoggin River Clean Up
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UPPER ANDRO ANGLERS ALLIANCE AND TELSTAR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO CLEAN UP ANDROSCOGGIN RIVER

As part of National River Cleanup, members of the Upper Andro Anglers Alliance and students from the Telstar Challenge Course at Telstar High School in Bethel, Maine will clean up a section of the Androscoggin River from Newt’s Landing in West Bethel to Davis Park in Bethel on Thursday, May 19. Students, ages 16-18, will float down the river in rafts armed with garbage bags and towing garbage scow rafts to collect debris along the riverbanks. The clean-up flotilla will launch at 9 am from Newt’s Landing and take out at Davis Park. Community members are welcome to help clean-up this and other stretches of the river. The town of Bethel will provide trash collection at Davis Park and deliver to the town’s solid waste facility.

Northern Waters Outfitters of Errol, NH will provide rafts and garbage scows. Immediately following the clean-up, Bethel’s Best Pizza Grille & Dairy Bar will host a pizza party at Davis Park for all participants,.

Rivers and watersheds have been used as dumps for old appliances, shopping carts and other refuse. Litter, such as foam cups, plastic bottles and food wrappers float into waterways, build up along the shoreline and stay there for years. With landfill space at a premium, recycling efforts stymied by a lack of plant capacity and toxic waste expensive to control, a grassroots effort can help maintain a constituency for preserving and protecting waterways. In 2010, 2 million pounds of trash and debris were collected and 6,000 miles of rivers and streams cleaned across the nation. In years’ past the Upper Andro yielded over a ton of debris including bed springs, tires and tire rims, a boat motor and a 1950’s record player.

The Upper Andro Anglers Alliance sponsors the local clean up. Says Clean-up Co-ordinator and UAAA director Bruce Pierce, “There’s been a long-standing effort to improve the Androscoggin’s water quality and fishery-now we need to improve the shore land zone along this wonderful river.”

National River Cleanup was founded in 1992 by America Outdoors, the largest association of America’s outfitters and guides, to assist local groups in keeping waterways clean. In 2007 American Rivers assumed administration of the river clean up. American Rivers, founded in 1973, is the nation’s leading river advocacy organization. NRC Information is published on line at www.nationalrivercleanup.org. Идея за подарък

Maine Free Family Fishing Festival – 2011
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The Upper Andro Anglers Alliance in co-operation with Trout Unlimited will host a free family fishing festival on Saturday, June 4. The festival will be held at Angevine Park on the North Road in Bethel, from 9 am to 2 pm, rain or shine. Free casting workshops and fly-tying instruction will be available throughout the day.

Local Maine guides and members of the Mollyockett Chapter of Trout Unlimited will teach the workshops. Instruction will include both spin casting and fly casting for older youth and parents. Maine’s Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Program will supply complimentary rods and reels for use at the festival.

Families can practice newly learned casting skills in the one acre pond and are welcome to take home their catch. The pond will be stocked with trout courtesy of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Each young angler will receive a mini-tackle box complete with bobber, sinkers and hook courtesy of the Upper Andro Anglers Alliance.

Kids can learn how to tie flies with materials provided by local outfitters and fly shops. Children will be able to take home their hand-tied flies.

Families participating in the event will be eligible for door prizes from local outfitters and businesses as well as L.L. Bean and Kittery Trading Post. The Bethel Fire Dept. will host a barbecue of hotdogs and hamburgers, chips, and drinks and families are welcome to bring a pack lunch.

The weekend of June 4 and 5 is a free fishing weekend in Maine. Resident and Non-resident freshwater fishing licenses are waived each day.

The Family Fishing Festival is one of many nationwide events that provide families with an opportunity to have fun on the water. The events are promoted by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (www.rbff.org). For those families wishing to stay overnight and fish or canoe the Androscoggin River on Sunday, special family packages are available for the weekend at local lodging establishments.

For information on the Family Fishing Festival, contact the Upper Andro Anglers Alliance at 207-824-3694, fish@upperandro.com or www.upperandro.com.вик услуги

Bethel, Maine: A Great Place to Find Miles of Hiking Trails
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Bethel, Maine Has the Blues

When it comes to mountains, Vermont has the Greens, New Hampshire has the Whites and Maine has the Blues. The Blues, better known as the Longfellow Range after Maine’s most famous poet, extend northeast from Bethel to 5,268 foot Mt. Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The section of the Blues from the Androscoggin River to the Bear River in Grafton Notch is called the Mahoosucs, likely an anglicized Abenaki Indian term for “land that is hard to hunt in” or “abode of hungry animals”. Some historians believe the term means pinnacle or mountain peak.

Since the 1870’s travelers have visited the Bethel area to hike the peaks and neighboring foothills, breathe the clean mountain air, spark their creative spirits and cure their blues. Not to be over-shadowed by the more publicized and well-known Presidential Range and White Mountains, the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce is reaching out to visitors of all ages and abilities to hike, walk and backpack the variety of trails found in the western Maine region.

There are over two dozen day hikes in the area including the Mt. Will Trail, Step Falls Nature Preserve, Table Rock Trail and Wright Trail leading up Goose Eye Mountain. The Grafton Loop Trail provides a three night backpacking trip for the adventuresome. In town, the Bethel Pathway along the Androscoggin River, Paradise Road and self-guided walking tours of the town’s historic district satisfy the casual, exercise walker.

Recently rebuilt, Table Rock Trail is a favorite with families. The 2.4 mile loop follows the Appalachian Trail’s white blaze to the blue-blazed trail. It rises gradually to a height of 900 feet above the trail head. An alternate route takes a steep ascent with minor case that challenge and enchant the youngsters. From aptly named “Table Rock”, the vista includes 4, 180’ Old Speck Mountain, the third highest mountain in Maine. Step Falls near Grafton Notch was the Nature Conservancy’s first preserve in Maine. The 24 acre preserve trail follows Wright Brook, a braided stream of steeply cascading pools dropping over 250 ft-making this one of Maine’s highest waterfalls. This is an ideal hike for nature photographers. The Mt. Will Trail, developed by the Bethel Conservation Commission, climbs 730 feet through the Bethel Town Forest. The North Ledges Section is highlighted by a descriptive nature trail, followed by a hike to south facing ledges that afford views of the Androscoggin valley and Bethel village. The final rocky descent completes the 3.25 mile loop. The Wright Trail is a full day’s loop hike up to the 3860 foot summit of Goose Eye Mountain. This trail is part of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands’ Mahoosuc Unit.

For its hiking visitors, Bethel offers a variety of lodging from restored Bed& Breakfasts, historic Inns, to resorts with swimming pools and golf courses, motels and campgrounds. Dining options range from a half dozen pizza places to Chinese, Korean, BBQ, vegetarian, English pub, microbrewery and fine dining. Day hikers can pick up a pack lunch at the local supermarket or specialty food stores. There is an outdoor outfitter right in town for those in need of hiking, backpacking and camping gear. The Bethel Chamber of Commerce office has trails maps for day hikes in the area and the staff will provide direction to the trail heads. For information on walking, hiking and backpacking contact the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-442-5826 or on-line at www.bethelmaine.com.

Wind Power and Precious Waters
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мека мебелGuest blog by David Miller

The definition of hydrology is “A science dealing with the properties, distribution, and circulation of water on the surface of the land, in the soil and underlying rocks, and in the atmosphere.”

So in essence, the hydrology of our land is in reality a life form of it own such as is our own bodily blood system. The disruption of the waters distribution naturally occurring within its environment must surely result in consequences of various levels.

Therefore, one must consider the impact of the currently planned blasting of the deep bed rock on mountain tops across hundreds of miles in Maine for the installation of the thousands of huge commercial wind turbines. It can very well impact and alter the high mountain seeps and springs. Damage to these sources of clean cold water could possibly cumulatively impact even our major aquifers that we depend on for potable water. Consideration must also be given to the possibility of increased levels of naturally occurring hazardous substances being released into the waters by the disruption of the bedrock during blasting. This could result in the possible release of excessive amounts of naturally occurring minerals in the form of sulfides or sulfates, and in some locals where present, substances such as arsenic.

Another concern to be considered is the impact to our wildlife. The cold mountain seeps join each other resulting ever enlarging streams feeding into our brooks and eventually into our rivers and larger bodies of water. The disruption of these sources may result in lesser amounts of runoff and or increased silting, in turn causing increased water temperatures and maybe even result in the very loss of some of our cold water fisheries. At the least, one can envision the loss of some of these waters that are the spawning areas for our world class brook trout and other cold water fish. Hundreds of these small mountain streams are the source of naturally occurring trout which move down into the larger brooks, streams, rivers, ponds and lakes that we fish in. No matter how you look at the possible effects, the results are a loss of a natural resource that Maine currently is a champion of – Brook Trout. Most all other traditional areas of native brook trout within the Continental United States already have been loss as the result of pollutants and destruction of the water source.

The value of clean water to mankind is currently critical in many areas of the world. It must be remembered that Maine is currently one of a few places in the eastern states where one can still kneel down, cup ones hand, and drink pure clean water in thousands of locations. All one has to do is ensure that there are no beaver or dead animals in the upstream side of one’s source of this water. Most any seep or spring on a hill or mountain side is a sure place to acquire a drink of ice cold clean water. The bottled water industry in Maine is here because of our many unpolluted aquifers. As the world sources of potable waters shrink, the value of our resource will escalate.

We have in Maine a very precious resource. If you can’t visualize the true value of our clean waters, you need only to talk to those who have traveled around the world. Just ask some of our military personnel, they are most aware of the value of clean water worldwide. In many locations around the world people are killing each other and even whole communities have perished fighting over potable water sources. In the near future the value of drinkable water will be astronomical compared to other things we value. Just consider the current cost of plain bottled water at your local store when compared to an equal amount of gasoline.

The major issues and controversy about the development of large scale commercial wind power is currently centered on health issues related to low frequency sound and shadow flicker, decreased property values, loss of habitat, death of large numbers of birds and bats, and impact to threatened or endangered species. Just maybe, the largest long term detrimental impact of large scale mountain top wind development is out of sight right under our feet – CLEAN WATER.

Dave Miller
Lexington TWP, ME

Dave Miller is a Maine resident, an outdoor writer and a member of the Carrabassett Valley Trappers Association.

Commercial Wind Power & Wildlife
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Guest blog by David Miller

Does industrial wind and wildlife really mix well? I would suggest no. There has been much research into the affects of industrial wind turbines and its deadly affect on bats and birds, but little to none on mammals.

The effects on both livestock and wildlife are starting to be realized by land owners, and by hunters and trappers. The effects of wind turbines on domestic animals are thankfully starting to be recorded, such as 100 goats dying in Taiwan because they could not feed. The turbines noise kept them “instinctively on alert” for predators to the point they could not eat. The livestock of an Ontario cattle rancher having many still born and what few calves were born were attacked by their mothers who kicked and bit them, others refused to nurse their young as a result of the affects of newly installed industrial size wind turbines. These are but two recorded and reported examples. Domesticated animals cannot escape the noise and shadow flicker of wind turbines because of their restricted (fenced in) range resulting in these types of incidents.

The higher forms of wildlife such as deer, bear, moose, and many furbearers take the option of leaving the immediate area of industrial wind complexes. But by this action, they are forced into habitat that is already occupied resulting in conflicts such as over browsing and an increased rate of predation. These activities have been recorded in various locations where industrial turbine complexes have become operational. The loss of habitat due to road, transmission line, and turbine site construction also results in the loss of thousands of acres of habitat. The affects of the turbines on the lower forms of wildlife such as rodents, snakes, and even insects is an unknown to date. They all have their place in the chain of life and any single loss will affect other wildlife and also the overall environment.

The hydrology of the mountains may also be impacted by the deep bed rock blasting that is required to make the foundations for the 400+ foot tall wind turbines. This may affect our drinking water supplies and the surface waters that hold various species of life including our beloved cold water brook trout and landlocked salmon fisheries.

Fragile and rare high alpine vegetation will be destroyed by mountain top wind development. In places such as Maine, moose will be driven off the high mountains sides where many go to have the cold temperatures of winter freeze off their tick infestations that can if bad enough weaken them to the point that they may parish. The pine martin, one of the most valuable of our fur bearers thrives on mountains with heavy spruce growth. Our depleted northern deer herds will be further stressed and damaged due to the fact that the low frequency noise and construction will force them from current habitat. The use of herbicides to prevent re-vegetation may cause long term harm to wildlife, aqueduct species, and maybe our own drinking water. The possibility of forest fires will be greatly increased due to lighting strikes to the turbines and overheated gearbox lubricants igniting. This is in areas mostly far removed from any firefighting equipment and men.

The affects of industrial wind on wildlife (other than bats and birds) is not being actively researched by various federal and state fish and game departments due to several reasons, such as a lack of funding and most commonly due to political pressure where state administrations do not want anything negative being brought to light. This is because they support wind power development along with its tax incentives, stimulus monies, political gains, and of course their own long term pocket wealth over that of the welfare of wildlife. The loss of revenues generated by wildlife such as licensing fees and employment related to hunting, fishing and trapping industries which generates millions annually for the states affected by industrial wind is not in their greedy equations.

It must be noted that the scientific and medical communities are realizing the effects of low frequency noise and the strobe affect of the blades in sun light that cause mental and medical problems in humans. Even this is being contested and down played by the big wind companies with their multitude of lawyers and our greedy politicians who gain to lose face and wealth by opposing big wind. They are doing all they can to discredit those who oppose big wind. Along with that, they come into communities where they want to place commercial wind turbine complexes and buy off the local governments and tax payers with bribes of reduced electrical fees, offers to pay for lawyers to represent the local communities during negotiations, and cash settlements with private individuals who have to sign agreements not to publicly oppose them for the duration. Here in Maine we are staged to lose over 350 miles of mountain tops along with many thousands of acres of habitat. Most of the land is privately owned and the land owners cannot be blamed because of upfront monies, reduced tax burdens, and long term leases. This is all done with stimulus funding which are our federal tax monies or that borrowed by our current federal administration from foreign countries which will hurt generations of Americans for many decades. The sad part is that wind power generation is not even cost effective, nor does it reduce carbon emissions because more coal and oil fired generation plants must be built to back up wind power generation which is a variable dependent on wind. These are the basic reasons I feel that commercial wind generation is not beneficial to wild life, along with consideration of its impact to the human race.

I ask that you form your own opinion on this matter, but please educate yourself on the pro’s and con’s of this subject before forming that opinion. There are many websites that will educate one. All you need to do is search or Google industrial wind or wind turbines.

Dave Miller, Lexington TWP, ME

Dave Miller is a Maine resident, an outdoor writer and a member of the Carrabassett Valley Trappers Association.

Infolinks 2013