Thursday, September 21, 2017

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Wilderness Realty, Inc.

Maine Land Sales Specialists

Hiking Opportunities at Moosehead Lake

The land around Moosehead Lake is dotted with several large mountain peaks (in excess of 2500 feet).  Several of these have short (max 3 miles) hiking trails to their summit affording tremendous views of the lake and surrounding mountains.  The longest hike is to the top of Big Moose Mountain.  Number 4 Mtn., Big Spencer Mtn., Mt. Kineo and Elephant Mtn. also have trails to spectacular vantage points.

These trails are great for ½ day to full day hikes.  Some can be steep; so you must be in reasonably good physical shape.  Be sure to wear a good pair of hiking boots and pack along some water, trail food, jacket and long pants.  The weather can change dramatically in this area, especially so atop the summits.

You can find these trails in The Maine Atlas, Maps 41 and 49.  There are descriptions of each in the front of this invaluable guide.  Pick a bluebird day and take a hike; the scenic rewards will be unforgettable.

MOOSEHEAD LAKE FACTIODS

Land and water facts regarding this Gem of the Maine Northwoods.

  • Moosehead Lake is the second largest lake in the US (east of the Mississippi) that is completely within the bounds of a state (the largest is Lake Okeechobee in FL).
  • The lake encompasses nearly 75,000 acres; maximum depth is 246 feet.
  • There are over 232 miles of lakefront including the shoreline of the larger islands; over 40% is owned by the State of Maine and protected from development.
  • Moosehead Lake is the headwaters to the fabled Kennebec River.
  • The scenic beauty of the area is attributed to its geological land forms.  Several mountains in excess of 3000 feet can be found in the immediate vicinity of the lake; Big Moose Mountain, Lily Bay Mountain, Big Spencer Mountain, Little Spencer Mountain and Baker Mountain.  There are even more that are in excess of 2000 feet making for a contrast of breathtaking lake and mountain vistas.
  • Mt. Kineo, rising abruptly nearly 700 feet from the water’s edge, has perhaps the country’s largest outcropping of flint which was mined by Native Americans for arrowheads.
  • Moosehead Lake is considered a world class coldwater fishery supporting landlock salmon, brook trout and lake trout (togue).
  • A monster lake trout was recently caught this past winter that tipped the scales at over 29 lbs; though not quite a state record.
  • There are four communities on the south and west portions of the lake; Greenville, Greenville Junction, Beaver Cove and Rockwood.  The remainder of the land around the lake is the sparsely developed Unorganized Territory.
  • The region has been a popular destination by recreationalists for nearly 150 years.
  • Steamships regularly plied Moosehead’s waters since the mid 1830’s; only one remains operational (it has now since been converted to diesel power)—The Katahdin.  It is used for sight-seeing tours.
  • There are three seaplane bases on the lake.  An annual seaplane fly-in is held in Greenville every September.

WILDLIFE HABITAT

Landowners have a unique opportunity to manipulate their property to enhance wildlife populations.  If you, as a landowner, are a wildlife enthusiast; here are a few ideas to help our furry and feathered (scaly and slimy too) friends.

If you have a beaver pond or marsh, erect some wood duck boxes.  You can build them and sometimes the Maine Dept of Fish & Wildlife will have some on hand for sale.  Make sure you raccoon-proof them by putting metal flashing around the pole or tree so that the coons cannot climb and raid the nest.

Build a pond.  If it is large enough, you will see wading birds, ducks and maybe geese use it.  Frogs, salamanders, snakes and turtles are likely to call your pond home.  Muskrats, mink and otter will also visit.  You can also stock fish.  Check with MDIFW for permits.

Encourage beavers to build you a pond.  You can enjoy all the benefits discussed above with little or no costs.  Now for the $64K question, how do you get beaver on your property?  One way would be to contact MDIFW and allow them to release “nuisance” beaver on your property.  It would help if you had a stream running through your land.

For timberland, create food plots.  These are openings in the forest that are planted to grasses or crops and used for food by a variety of wildlife notably deer and turkey.  Grouse, hare and other species will use these sites as well.  Ground nesting birds and small mammals will use these openings for nest sites.  They do need to be mowed, preferably in the fall, to maintain their integrity.

If you have fields, plant them or sections of them to grains, clover or high quality grasses such as timothy and alfalfa.  You can also plant crops that wildlife will use for food such as brassicas, beans or corn.

Larger owners can manage their timber for wildlife as well.  Identify and do not cut cavity or nest trees.  Cut 1-2 acre patches dispersed throughout the property on a rotating basis to maintain a mix of successional stages.  Designate an area that is a no cut zone to promote an area of mature trees.  These are but a few harvest techniques that add diversity to your timberland which will be used by a variety of wildlife species.  If you are willing to pay fees, contact a wildlife consultant or forester for a professional opinion.

If you like wildlife, one good way to promote your passion for the critters is to be a landowner.  Check out our website for land tracts that would make for good wildlife habitat.  The Solon farmhouse on 62.6 acres and the 88 acres in Fairfield are good candidates.

Feel free to contact us for more info regarding this aspect of these properties.

Increase Your Land Value

As you can recall from previous posts, raw land increases in value over time.  You as a landowner can also increase the value of your property.  One obvious improvement would be to build a home.

There are other less obvious improvements that you can make that will enhance the value of your land and may also provide enjoyment as well.

On larger holdings, construction of trails will enhance property values.  You can accomplish this yourself by brushing out old skid trails, filling in depressions, building bridges etc.  Hiring out an excavator or backhoe is another option.  These trails can be used for walking, ATVing, x-country skiing, snowmobiling etc.

Food plots on timberland parcels are a great way to increase the value of the property as well as provide wildlife habitat.  Openings can be ½ to several acres in size and are generally planted with quality grasses, clover, grain or vegetable crops.  Food plots do require periodic mowings or plantings to keep the forest from reclaiming them.

For fields, the planting of Christmas trees, orchard trees or nursery stock will increase property values tremendously.  This improvement will require considerable maintenance but the return can be very attractive.

The construction of a pond will also add value to a property.  Private ponds are generally constructed using bulldozers and backhoes.  Small ponds are esthetically pleasing and provide some wildlife habitat.  Larger ponds can be used for swimming and boating.  Trout or other fish species can be stocked for recreation or even an aquaculture operation.  Be sure to check out federal and state regulations for both pond construction and the stocking of fish.

There are many other improvements that you can make that will add value to your property.  Even small projects enhance worth.

PANCAKES & SYRUP

It’s that time of year again.  Time to collect the sap, boil it down and make that sweet delicacy—maple syrup; the symbol of Spring in Maine and the rest of New England.  This is yet another benefit of a timberland owner.

Anyone lucky enough to own a “sugarbush” can partake in this seasonal ritual.  All one needs is a dozen or so mature sugar maple trees growing on his or her property.  Generally a 10” DBH (diameter at breast height) tree will support one bucket.  The larger the tree the more buckets you can add.  If you are new to this, be conservative; you do not want to kill the tree.

To get the sweet nectar, one needs to drill a hole into the tree an inch or so deep, pound in a spile (metal spigot) and hang the bucket.  Tubing can also be used to carry the sap to a collector.

The sap should be collected daily; when it is running good, twice a day.  The sap needs to be boiled down to make syrup.  Boil it more to make maple butter, more so to make candy.  It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.

Most people will do this for their own personal use; however, large timberland owners will make it a commercial operation.  One thing to remember; if you are growing your sugar maple trees for sawtimber, you do not want to tap them, which would reduce their value immensely.

If you are looking to buy land and this is an activity that interests you, keep an eye out for a number of large sugar maples.  Ask your broker.

Happy Spring!


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