AUGUSTA- Landowner Appreciation Cleanup Day is September 13.  The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Bureau of Forestry is coordinating the volunteer land cleanup effort this year.  Forest Rangers working in cooperation with the Maine Snowmobile Association (MSA), ATV Maine, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW), as well as other recreational groups, are preparing teams to clean up 50-60 illegal dump sites in Maine.

In other parts of the country, most undeveloped forest land is posted, and recreation is limited to those who pay club fees to use locations. Maine landowners have a history of sharing their forest and farm lands for responsible outdoor recreation. Millions of acres of working farms and forests are open to the public for enjoyment throughout the year. Unfortunately, the Maine privilege of enjoying access to private lands is threatened every time irresponsible people litter or illegally dump trash.

“Landowner Appreciation Cleanup Day is a way to thank property owners for allowing access to private lands for outdoor activities, recreation and enjoyment,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Most Maine people understand that public access to private lands is a special privilege to be respected and cherished, not a right. I commend volunteers and landowners alike for promoting public access and awareness of the need to respect private property.”

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb urged outdoor enthusiasts and organizations to support the effort by volunteering their time and energy. “Department staff and our partner organizations have worked hard to make this annual effort a success,” he said. “It is also symbolic of efforts made throughout the year by people and individuals to help ensure future access to private lands by keeping them clear of trash and debris. The goal is to avoid the posting of ‘no trespassing’ signs and the installation of gates that block access.”

The Forestry staff, in cooperation with other state agencies and outdoor recreational groups, has been working with landowners to identify specific dump locations and enter them into a database to track progress on site cleanup. It will supply trucks and trash bags for the cleanup effort, but needs volunteers to help load the items. Dump sites vary from a single piece of discarded furniture, a washing machine or discarded tires to several pickup-truck loads of shingles and mattresses. To make it easier for cleanup volunteers, dozens of maps have been created that show the exact dump site locations. Cleanup volunteers who live near an illegal dump site may have to spend only a half hour or less to help clean it up.

Locations around Maine can be found online at https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?hl=en&authuser=0&mid=zoiiB_uAdliI.kt9_l_dw1qAg. To volunteer for this project, please contact Jeff Currier at (207) 827-1800, or the Maine Forest Service at 1-800-750-9777.


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