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Grateful for landowners who support public access

To the editor:

Some of the best outdoor adventures rely on the right mix of public and private lands.

On Sept. 15, Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Forest Service will host a Landowner Appreciation and Clean Up Day. The board and staff of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a 740-mile water trail from Old Forge, New York, to Fort Kent, Maine, would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our landowner partners in Maine, and all landowners who help make this experience possible.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is the longest inland water trail in the nation, and much of the trail is dependent on private landowners who provide public recreational access. We also credit the governments of each state — New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine — for creating laws that protect these landowners from liability.

Outdoor opportunities like the canoe trail are part of a long tradition of private landowners allowing for recreational activities like angling, paddling, hunting, and hiking. Hundreds of private landowners give individuals and families lifelong memories through the relatively simple act of supporting paddlers and other outdoor enthusiasts as they venture through private lands along the canoe trail and throughout the northeast. Their willingness to share the land they care for is a defining thread in the fabric of our communities and the culture of our region.

As we thank these landowners, we also implore paddlers — and anyone who enjoys recreational activities on private lands — to continue being respectful of this access. Obey signs and leave as little trace of your visit as possible. It’s a privilege, and one that we are immensely grateful for.

We hope paddlers in Maine will show up on Sept. 15 to help with clean up efforts and show their appreciation. If you can’t make it to an organized cleanup, or if you live elsewhere, you can still help ensure we are welcome on private land in the future by picking up trash while you’re out on the water anytime!

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail works with landowners and communities year-round to promote and maintain this one-of-a-kind recreational resource. Get in touch if you want to learn more: email karrie@northernforestcanoetrail.org or visit www.northernforestcanoetrail.org.

Sincerely,

Karrie Thomas

Executive director

Northern Forest Canoe Trail

Waitsfield, Vermont

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