WELD — Tumbledown Conservation Alliance is providing funding this summer for an environmental steward in Weld, according to Conrad Heeschen of the Alliance.

Nate Bartnick, a former Appalachian Trail through hiker, has been on the job since the end of May and will work through the fall. Bartnick is based at the Mount Blue State Park Nature Center and is staying at the park campground. His time is split between the park and the Tumbledown Public Lands.

At Tumbledown, Bartnick has been spending his time on trails. According to Park Manager Bruce Farnham, he will reblaze all the Tumbledown range trails. As environmental steward, he monitors trail use and activities on the mountain and has been educating hikers about stewardship issues.

He is enthusiastic about the area and said, “It?s a privilege to be able to work outside in such a beautiful area and help with the oversight of the hiking trails.”

He also will work on the Pond Link Trail, which has fallen into disrepair.

Whitney Bushey, another environmental steward at Mount Blue State Park, is focusing on the Park’s nature program. Farnham said that Whitney been able to keep the Nature Center open more hours and has been an integral part of the park’s summer program.

The Maine Conservation Corps has spent four weeks working on the Mount Blue Trail this summer. The crew built another set of steps and concentrated on water bars and drainage. With the increased precipitation in recent years, this is a critical issue for all the trails in the area. Currently, MCC is working on Tumbledown trails.

The Tumbledown Conservation Alliance formed in 2000 in response to major changes in land ownership in the region. With the Trust for Public Land and the Maine Department of Conservation as partners, TCA has helped protect nearly 26,000 acres in the Mount Blue-Tumbledown region.

For more about TCA, visit www.tumbledown.org.

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