Members of the Outreach Team of the Natural Resources Council of Maine hike Mount Abraham on July 8, 2022, in north central Franklin County. From left are Todd Martin, Kristin Jackson, Marc Edwards and Josh Caldwell. Edwards is the council’s regional outreach coordinator who is leading an effort to bring Atlantic salmon back to the Sandy River. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — The Natural Resources Council of Maine is gearing up this year with an initiative to bring the endangered Atlantic salmon back to Sandy River and collaborate with Maine legislators in crafting a trail development bill.

“We’re going to be doing a lot more in the county,” Regional Outreach Coordinator Marc Edwards told the Wilton Select Board last November while making the rounds to introduce himself to area select boards, including Farmington’s.

Recently, the council helped craft a bill that will benefit Franklin County and the entire state by developing and maintaining motorized and nonmotorized trails similar to the Land for Maine’s Future program, he said.

“The idea from this bill came in part from feedback we received from leaders in Franklin County,” Edwards said. “And we have worked with the statewide Maine Trails Coalition and the local High Peaks Alliance in crafting the proposed bill.”

He is also working in the region to return the endangered Atlantic salmon to the Sandy River. It would involve removing four dams in the lower Kennebec River, Edwards stated.

“It would be wonderful for future generations to see Atlantic salmon fulfilling their natural life cycle in the Sandy River,” Edwards said. “I would love a future in which those middle school students from Rangeley who raised and released salmon fry into the Sandy last spring will be able to say to their children one day, ‘When I was young, Atlantic salmon were endangered and we had to raise them in aquariums because they couldn’t make it up here to spawn but look at them now.’”


Founded over 60 years ago, the Natural Resources Council of Maine has worked to preserve, restore and protect Maine’s environment for present and future generations. Its accomplishments include aiding in the recent banning of single-use plastic bags and disposable foam food containers, removal of Edwards Dam in Augusta in 1999, banning billboards in the state in 1978, and its first success in the preservation of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in 1966.

“It started with a group of concerned Maine citizens getting together and helping to preserve (the Allagash Wilderness Waterway),” Edwards said.

Originally with UMaine’s Cooperative Extension program, Edwards has been with the council almost a year. A resident of Strong, he joined to stay close to home while utilizing its resources to help Franklin County in any of its environmental efforts.

“I was drawn to NRCM,” Edwards wrote in an email, “and this position in particular, because it allowed me to stay in Franklin County and in our home in Strong while working to protect what is so special about this area: the abundant natural resources and the communities and businesses on which they are dependent, from moose hunting guides and independent loggers to snowmobiling outfitters and ski areas.”

For more information on NRCM’s mission or accomplishments, or to contact it or a regional representative, visit or call 207-622-3101.

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