WINTHROP — Timber cutting is under way at a 300-acre preserve in East Winthrop managed by the Small Woodland Owners of Maine.

The property, across Case Road from Little Cobbossee in East Winthrop and extending into Readfield, had been amassed by Georgia Fuller Weisendanger, a local real estate broker who died in October 2006 at age 92.

Trustees of her estate selected the woodland group as the conservation organization that would receive and manage the Georgia Fuller Weisendanger Wildlife Protection Area.

The group “was very fortunate to be selected,” said Jim Norris, of Winthrop, a forester and a trustee of the Augusta-based Small Woodland Owners of Maine. “Hopefully we’ll be a good steward for the property.”

Restrictions on the land ban hunting and motorized vehicles — except those used for forestry operations.

The organization used Two Trees Forestry to create a management plan. The goal of the woodland group, as stated on its website, is “to encourage and facilitate the continued use of Maine forest land for optimal productivity and natural resource protection through recognized best forest management practices.”

Norris said there’s already an agreement with American Chestnut Foundation to begin a chestnut nursery and plantation.

“Because of its great location, we think we’ll have a lot of opportunity that way,” he said.

Norris, who lives near the land, said he’s out there almost every day to check on the cutting operation.

“Selective cutting is the first phase of a 10-year management plan, and we will be harvesting periodically,” said Thomas Doak, executive director of Small Woodland Owners of Maine.

He said the management plan, which includes mowing some fields, will improve the property for wildlife. While no trails are marked yet, he said the property is open to the public to use as long as people remain away from the forestry operations.

Some of the initial work includes creation of a small parking lot off Case Road. Until that’s complete, Doak said visitors can park off the side of Case Road.

Eventually, existing tote roads will be used both for trails and as access for a series of old tote road, he said.

Money from the harvest will go to support organization as well as property management and taxes.

“We now own about 3,000 acres across Maine,” Doak said. “We’re different from most land trusts because we manage properties.”


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