To the Editor:
On Friday, August 9th, the greater Bethel community–along with many guests–celebrated the acquisition of 978 acres of land that is now Bethel’s Community Forest. The property, located on the Locke Mountain Road, boasts 13 miles of existing logging roads, beautiful views from many locations, a 51 acre mapped deer wintering area, abundant wildlife habitat areas, local snowmobile trail #13, numerous species of trees and berries, and trails in progress for hiking and mountain biking.
In preparation for the event, Savage Construction spent a week fixing Locke Mt. Road and building a parking area. A generous donation of their services is greatly appreciated, and their work made hosting the event possible. Several volunteers helped with trail work so that we were able to have guided tours for mountain biking and hiking; we thank the following for their time and infectious energy: David Walker, Nancy Babcock, Jeff Angevine, Fred Bailey, Julie Renaud-Evans, Kevin Evans, Sara and Jeff Sloan, Peter Southam, Ed Easter, and instructors and students from Outward Bound. Jeremy Nellis, Maxx Parys, and Sam Weafer spent a couple of days repairing roads and sections of trail. Thanks to several volunteers from the Northern Forest Center and Trust for Public Land for helping to park cars on Friday. And a tremendous thank you to our wonderful intern, Jacob Burgess, for working overtime to ensure trails were ready and signed for the event. Thank you to Senator Susan Collins for making the trip to Bethel to deliver an uplifting address, and Congressman Jared Golden’s staffer, Dan Jenkins, for speaking on his behalf. Sarah Demers, Director of Land for Maine’s Future, delivered the iconic LMF trail sign as well as a great speech evoking Margaret Mead. Peter Southam, Bethel Select Board President, spoke passionately about the land, recreation, and came ready to ride. Thanks also to Neal Bungard, manager of the Forest Legacy and Community Forest Program, for taking the time to travel to the forest, and to Liz Repetto, Bethel citizen, for her remarks on what community means to her. Ashley Stanton-Niehoff from the Trust for Public Land headed up the organizing for the event–thanks so much for helping the day run smoothly. A special thank you to Julie Renaud-Evans from the Northern Forest Center,
who spoke about her role in community planning for the project. Her vision and knowledge guided the acquisition process from start to finish. And a huge thank you to Betsy Cook, from the Trust for Public Land, for not only being an instrumental part of the Community Forest project, but for ensuring the celebration’s success.
Thanks to The Good Food Store for providing delicious baked goods and drinks during the day, and a special thank you to the owners and chef at The Jolly Drayman for donating a pizza after-party on Friday night. It was a perfect way to end a wonderful day.
The Community Forest is open for everyone to enjoy and we’re so excited to share this new resource with you; please visit our website for more information and a map at www.mahoosucpathways.org/Community-Forest/.

Sarah Weafer

The staff and board

Mahoosuc Pathways

Bethel


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