Network to discuss heritage designation

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FARMINGTON – The Maine Mountain Heritage Network will host a rally for the Maine Mountain Heritage Area on Friday, May 19.

The session will focus on the network’s development and marketing projects and consider whether to seek national heritage area designation for Maine’s mountain region – Oxford, Franklin, Somerset and Piscataquis counties.

The rally will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Maine at Farmington. Registration is required to reserve a seat and a lunch. People wishing to participate can register online at www.mainemountains.org or by calling (207)778-3012. There is no fee for attending the rally.

National heritage designation could result in $1 million a year for 10 years in new federal funding for the region to support heritage-based development and marketing activities.

A panel titled “National Designationor is there a better way” will include: Annie Harris, director of the Essex National Heritage Area in Massachusetts; Vaughn Stinson, chief executive officer of the Maine Tourism Association; and Patrick Strauch, executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council. Richard Barringer of the Muskie School for Public Service will moderate the discussion.

Morning breakout sessions will review progress and opportunities for further action in network programs.

The Woods and Waters Program attempts to coordinate recreation development and land conservation. Woods and Waters panelists will include: Luke Muzzy of Plum Creek; Larry Warren, Western Mountains Foundation/Maine Huts and Trails project; and Bryan Wentzell, Appalachian Mountain Club.

The Mountain Made panel will ask if the character values of the region create a brand to support sales of products grown or made here? Panelists will include Tracy Stutzman, Maine Highland Artisans Guild; Kathy Hopkins, University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Maple Producers Association, and a representative of Poland Spring/Nestle Waters North America Inc.

The Knowledge Power breakout panelists will include: Julie Bartsch, Rural School and Community Trust, and Matt Kirchman, director of exhibit design for Krent Paffett Carney Associates in Boston.

Village Works panel will feature John Simko, Greenville’s town manager discussing multi-town coordination of services and taxation. Audrey Lovering, Skowhegan Main Street manager, will talk about the Maine Street approach to downtown revitalization. A Norway representative has been invited to talk about the Libra Foundation’s Cummings Mill project.

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