A 1858 map of Poland show’s Joe’s Road leading to Lower Range Pond.

POLAND — The Poland Historical Society hosted a talk and hike recently on a section of an abandoned farm road called Joe’s Road that has a long history and is part of a trail network.

Fred Huntress leads a group of people on a walk Oct. 2 along Joe’s Road hosted by the Poland Historical Society.

According to the society’s research, Joe’s Road was built by early Poland settler Josiah Dunn and is referenced in 1806 town meeting notes: “Voted to allow a road from Josiah Dunn’s field to the lower Range Pond, so called.”

The road can be seen in a 1858 map of Poland, and a section of it appears in the 1906 USGS topographical map from Bailey Hill Road to the Old Plains Road.

Society member Pat Meoning, in a presentation, transposed maps from different time periods over the area, and said the road was probably abandoned after 1895, when the Portland and Rumford Railway was constructed in the region.

Retired professional forester and surveyor Fred Huntress, who owns about 125 acres, including a good section of the road, said that in 1951 he was 17 and worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the White Pine Blister Rust Control Program. Blister is an invasive fungus that kills young seedlings and young trees.

One of the blocks of land he was working on was the piece between Lower Range Pond and Bailey Hill Road.

Huntress recalled he was having lunch with a fellow worker beside Bailey Hill Road at a time when Joe’s Road was still being used as a cart path between Bailey Hill and the Maine Central Railroad, which was abandoned, but the train tracks were still in place.

Huntress said Alzada Bailey Penney told him about Joe’s Road. Her father, Moses Bailey, used to own that section of land by Lower Range Pond, which is part of Range Pond State Park.

Huntress purchased a series of lots between 1970 and 2013 in the area where Joe’s Road is still in evidence; pitch pines grow in line by the wagon wheel ruts.

Some of the original landowners were well-known movers and shakers of early Poland, with last names including Bailey, Ricker, Pulsifer and Jordan.

Joe’s Road is part of a network of hiking trails that Huntress — an ardent conservationist and member of Poland’s Conservation Commission — has built and maintained on his property. The property is a rich forest of pitch pine, red pine and white pine, with vernal pools and bogs, and features one of the largest pitch pines in the state of Maine.

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