JAY — Selectpersons voted Monday, May 29 to approve a 40-year lease agreement with the Androscoggin Land Trust for the French Falls Recreation Area.

The lease was approved by the trust’s board of directors last week, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said.

The town will be responsible for maintaining about 10 acres of the property that runs along the Androscoggin River for the public’s use until April 2055.

Voters authorized selectpersons in April to negotiate a lease agreement with the trust. Verso Paper formally owned the property.

The board also approved a Recreational Area Use Agreement to use the recreational areas of  French Falls, Jay Village and Dow Field.

Among the town’s rules to use the area is that no smoking, tobacco products or alcohol will be allowed in any recreational area. Also firearms, explosives, fireworks, fires and fire pits are not allowed at any recreational area, unless specifically authorized by law and/or with written permission of the town manager and with appropriate permits.


The town will not provide portable toilets or trash receptacles for the areas. Trash will be carry in, carry out, LaFreniere said.

If the town starts providing trash receptacles, it would have to provide someone to take care of them, she said. The town does not provide portable toilets at the other recreation areas.

There is a portable toilet at the French Falls area but it is unknown who pays for it.

The rules also state that no recreational areas shall be used for personal or commercial gain. Selectpersons amended it to add other than not-for-profit groups or charities and incidental fees.

The town will have the highest priority of use of the recreational areas. Reservations for use of the properties will be on a first-come, first-served basis. All reservations must be made through the Town Office. Requests for recreational area reservations shall be made by a designated representative: the person signing the use agreement form.

There will be no verbal confirmation of reservations. Only an approved use form will constitute a valid reservation of the area.


Though selectpersons opted not to require the organizations or the people using the field to provide a certificate of liability insurance, those using it will have to sign a waiver.

Maine Municipal Association had recommended the town require the user to provide insurance to use the property, but it was not mandatory, LaFreniere said, prior to the board approving the agreement.

Selectperson Tom Goding suggested that signs be posted around the recreation areas outlining rules and responsibilities of users.  

Regional School Unit 73, AYS and a men’s softball league have expressed interest in using the French Falls area, LaFreniere said.

The parking lot there has to be regraded and the orange plastic fence and poles are very much in disrepair, she said. The Public Works crew has done some work at the area and has found the base anchors. AYS provided the bases.

There has also been a call about putting a dog park down at French Falls near the Whistle-Stop Trail access, LaFreniere said. If the town decides to do it, it would require a fence.


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