FARMINGTON — Selectmen this week proclaimed Saturday, May 21, as the day Arbor Day will be celebrated in Farmington.
It was also announced last week that for the 34th consecutive year the town of Farmington has been recognized nationally by the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation as a 2010 Tree City USA community for its continued commitment to urban forestry.
Members and friends of the Farmington Conservation Commission will observe the town’s Arbor Day by clearing trails in the area of the Flint, Bonney and Village woods from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday. The work is part of an ongoing effort to make improvements to the 4-mile network of recreational trails in the wooded areas two blocks from the center of downtown.
The public recreational areas are owned by the Bonney Woods Corp. and the Farmington Village Corp., which were recently awarded a two-year grant totaling $33,561 from the Maine Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks division, that is to be matched with local investments of money and in-kind trail work contributions to fund a total project cost of $47,561. The commission’s members and associates have pledged 100 volunteer hours toward the project.
The improvements to be made over the next two years include clearing new trails, existing trail pruning, drainage work, trail resurfacing, bridge and bench construction, trail signs and new trail kiosks at several trail access points in Bonney Woods, Flint Woods and Village Woods.
On Saturday, the Conservation Commission will be clearing trails beginning at 8 a.m. Everyone is invited to join the group, Chairman Pete Tracy said. He advised people attending to park on the side of the Water Department’s access road, where Anson turns into Titcomb Hill Road.
Bring the following tools and gear if you can: safety glasses, work gloves, hard hat, loppers, and/or bucksaw and/or pruning saw (short or high). But don’t worry if you don’t have the safety equipment, Tracy said, extra equipment will be available for use.
“We will be clearing new sections of trail on Village Woods in preparation for chipping, then construction. We’ll be piling the brush and debris in bunches, butt towards the trail, for later chipping. If you can only work an hour, great! If you can work all three hours, greater! Bring any friend or associate who would like to work,” Tracy said.
Experienced chain saw operators and fellers will be on hand for the big stuff. The work will be held rain or shine.
Each year approximately 16 towns and cities in Maine qualify for the Tree City USA designation. Three municipalities, Farmington, Kennebunkport and Westbrook, have received the award the longest at 34 years, the year after the program was established. To qualify as a Tree City, the municipality has to establish a tree board or department, such as the Farmington Conservation Commission; a tree care ordinance; a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita; and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.