Mt. Apatite study group asks for survey help

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AUBURN — The group studying how to balance recreational uses at Mt. Apatite Park with the Maine National Guard’s Auburn Training Site is hoping residents will take an online survey.

The 10-question survey asks residents how they get to the park and what they do when they get there. That information will be used to help create a master plan for the site, west of Garfield Road and north of Minot Avenue. The master plan will also look at road access, wetlands and potential site designs.

The survey, available at online at SurveyMonkey.com, is open to anyone 18  years or older. It’s also available as a link off the city’s website, www.auburnmaine.gov.

Residents who register with an email address will be entered into a drawing for one of two $50 gift certificates to an Auburn restaurant.

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The area is home to the 344-acre Mt. Apatite Park city recreation area, covered with gemstone quarries, summertime hiking trails and winter cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails. It’s also home to the Auburn Suburban Little League’s team fields.

The Maine National Guard operates its Auburn Training Site 270 days each year, on 154 acres between the park and the Little League ball fields. Activities include small arms training and small unit tactics, chemical and biological defense, navigation, combat skills, heavy equipment operation and combat engineer operations.

The soldiers and their equipment have to drive through the Little League parking area to reach the training site. Hikers and gem hunters have to walk through the Guard’s training site to reach the Mt. Apatite area.

The study looks to find better ways to balance those uses and perhaps provide better access to the area. It is being paid with a $149,998 grant from the federal Office of Economic Adjustment.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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