ORLAND — The Maine Tree Farm Committee has named Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust as Hancock County’s 2022 Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year. The American Tree Farm System was founded in 1941 and is the oldest and largest forest conservation, certification and advocacy program in the United States. There are more than 1,400 designated tree farms in Maine.
The award selection committee met with Trust Executive Director Landon Fake and Forester Roger Greene to tour the Tree Farm in October 2020.
“The entire committee was thoroughly impressed with the pride and level of care that the Trust takes in the stewardship of its forest and believes the management ethic and history of community involvement of GPMCT fully uphold the core values of the Maine Tree Farm Program. GPMCT is a perfect example of an Outstanding Tree Farmer,” said Kelly French, program and outreach coordinator of Maine TREE.
GPMCT is a public-supported nonprofit land trust established in 1993. The Trust owns and manages the 5,000-acre Wildlands in East Orland for recreation, wildlife habitat and sustainable forestry. A total of 4,500 acres are currently enrolled in the Maine Tree Farm Program and have been for 11 years. The Wildlands are open to the public for hiking, biking, snowmobiling and horseback riding, as well as hunting, fishing and trapping.
“We are a Certified Tree Farm because we want our visitors to know that sustainable forestry is an integral part of our mission and we benefit from the resources available to us from the Tree Farm organization,” said Landon Fake. Forester Roger Greene explained, “We’ve got more in mind than just a crop of money-producing trees. Water, wildlife and recreation are equal considerations in our multiple-use adaptive management efforts to restore a thoroughly depleted forest to its true potential. While we can’t buy time, we can grow healthy trees which will also provide for the other benefits mentioned over a shorter period of time than if left to Nature. It’s about active, rather than passive management.”
“GPMCT’s board and staff are thrilled to receive the Hancock County Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year award,” said Fake upon being notified of the award. “It recognizes our commitment to sustainable forestry, the hard work of our forester, Roger Greene, and our productive relationship with the Ellsworth field office of the USDA NRCS, which helps fund many of our forestry initiatives.”