Trail Stewards and the Maine Conservation Corps install a kiosk at Forest Legacy Conservation Area.

Rangeley, ME – This summer Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust launched the Community Conservation Corps (CCC) creating well-paying jobs for people in a safe working environment, continuing our well-earned reputation for outstanding stewardship of conserved lands, and extending our stewardship practices beyond our 14,000 acres of conserved lands.

The CCC will further RLHT’s mission while increasing the region’s economic resilience by completing projects like:

Trail work— Mapping; maintaining signage; identifying priority maintenance projects; and conducting campsite upkeep on over 130 miles of hiking trails (including trails owned by others).
Habitat protection and monitoring— Identifying and mapping invasive species and conducting habitat surveys on land and water.
Fire prevention— Maintaining fireboxes at remote campsites.
Education— Informing anglers, hikers, birders, etc. about conservation in the region, trails, backcountry safety, emerging issues on lakes and rivers.
Water quality— Conducting courtesy boat inspections and water quality surveys.
Surveying— visitors on use patterns.

This program is rooted in our commitment to community conservation—a commitment that recognizes both the role of people – like us – in conserving natural resources and the importance of the environment in our regional economy.

The CCC is underway for the summer thanks to the visionary philanthropy of a few donors, one of whom has encouraged us to match his $25,000 gift.

Our member’s generosity enables us to conserve and care for this incredible part of Maine. Visit rlht.org to donate to this program!

Our CCC Members are already making a difference.

River Ambassadors

Our newest position of River Ambassador brings the stewardship of our rivers to an entirely new level. RA’s will connect visitors to RLHT’s conservation work; put boots on the ground and bring new faces to the organization.

While in the field, RA’s walk the river access, actively engage visitors and provide education on conservation, invasive plants, and regional recreation opportunities. They also collect data on users; numbers, activities, along with the history and the stories of people who love the landscape.

River Ambassadors, Judy Morton and Harold Schaetzle

Water Quality Monitors

For two decades, RLHT has monitored the water bodies in the Rangeley Lakes Region. Invasive Plant Patrollers have annually documented over 90 miles of shoreline. Water Quality Monitors have collected clarity data consistently on 12 of 16 bodies of water. Courtesy Boat Inspectors have educated over 20k boaters.

Lexi Daggett collects a Secchi reading

There’s still more to do.

This summer, we’ve hired Water Quality Monitors who will each do a blend of the roles above filling gaps on water bodies across the region – improving our data and its width.

The WQM’s will meet and greet boaters and anglers while at the launch, inspect boats, and in some locations survey visitors on their use of the property. They will also conduct Secchi (clarity) readings and DO (dissolved oxygen) tests on previously non-monitored ponds. Additionally, they will assist water quality volunteers and further citizen science efforts across Maine through use of iMapInvasives, eBird, and iNaturalist.

When they aren’t busy with all this –  they lend a hand to the Trail Stewards.

Trail Stewards

Annually, RLHT manages 35 miles of recreation trails on our conservation lands; each year the season begins with an inventory of trails, then a plan emerges for basic maintenance and special projects.

This season, with the help of our volunteer Trail Monitors, Stewards and Technicians we are ahead of schedule. Each week, these volunteers walk their trail performing light maintenance (raking, lopper work). Larger issues like blowdowns, beaver activity, and trail damage are reported back to our Natural Resource Steward, Alyssa Andrews, who creates a plan then connects the CCC’s Trail Stewards with the project.

Alayna McNally performs trail maintenance at Steep Bank Pool.

This year the CCC has partnered with the Rangeley Lakes Trails Center, the Fly Rod Crosby Trail, and the Maine Forestry Museum to create a uniform trail system in the region.

Would you like to help? We work hard to teach our volunteers the joy of trail maintenance. We hope by investing our time in teaching you trail maintenance you’ll come back and join us again. We strive to be safe, have fun, and to get work done! Contact Alyssa Andrews at [email protected] or (207) 864-7311.


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