Doug Dunlap with Webb Lake in the background Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — Local hiker and outdoor writer, Doug Dunlap of Farmington, has set a goal of walking a total of 1,000 miles in Franklin County. This is an average of just under 143 miles per month for seven months. He will finish his journey on September 30, 2020. He has two purposes in mind, both are related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first is to encourage county residents and visitors alike to appreciate the magnificent forest, foothill, mountain, and waterway terrain in what he considers some of the most beautiful outdoor country in Eastern North America. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families and individuals have discovered walking to offer good exercise, long views, clean air, opportunity to see Maine wildlife – and a welcome break from stress. The new paddling season provides yet more opportunity to enjoy Franklin County outdoors.

The second is to call attention to the extraordinary efforts of United Way and United Way partner agencies to serve Franklin County’s most vulnerable residents during these difficult times. From parents of infants and toddlers, to our most senior citizens, and hundreds of people in between, United Way and partners have provided access to food, clothing, shelter, health, mental health, addiction, and domestic violence-related services; and links to support for those experiencing fear or isolation.

Doug welcomes donations to the United Way at a penny per mile (for a total of $10); 5 cents per mile (for a total of $50); ten cents per mile (for a total of $100); twenty-five cents per mile (for a total of $250), or donors can make an outright gift in any amount at or by mailing a check to United Way, PO Box 126, Farmington, ME 04938. To donate on-line, please visit

Follow Doug’s journey on United Way’s Facebook and Instagram pages and website. Postings will include towns, public lands, and points of interest visited, mileage, wildlife sightings and other nature observations.

Individuals, families, groups, businesses, and others are encouraged to paddle or walk their own miles and donate based on how far they go. Those doing their own walking and paddling are encouraged to submit their progress and observations to the United Way of the Tri-Valley at any time by emailing or by posting to the Franklin County Foot and Paddle event on the United Way’s Facebook page. The community wants to hear from you! (It is not necessary for donations to be gathered to participate – though contributions are welcome from participating families.)

Doug is following all COVID-19 protective measures that apply at the time of a walk, including social distancing; hand washing; masking; remaining home if ill; and limiting group size. Independent walkers and paddlers are encouraged to do the same.

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