The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will hold an informational meeting June 29 in Hallowell to discuss its planned timber harvesting project in the Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area.

The project at the approximately 1,000-acre property in Hallowell, Farmingdale and Manchester, is scheduled to begin this summer, according to Ryan Robicheau, wildlife management section supervisor for the wildlife department. It is the first timber harvesting project at Jamies Pond in more than a decade.

Robicheau and regional wildlife biologist G. Keel Kemper hope the meeting provides background on the project and how it will be completed. They also want to hear feedback from the public because several people have expressed concerns to elected officials including Rep. Charlotte Warren, D-Hallowell.

Warren said constituents were surprised by the size of the project and were caught off guard when they heard it was happening.

“I was concerned that people wouldn’t have a voice,” Warren said last week.

Planning for the project began in 2012, Robicheau said, and the department has held several public meetings with the conservation commissions in Hallowell and Manchester.

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“We’ve outlined the upcoming project on our website, we’ve met with the conservation groups and we’ve trusted them to be another vehicle to help get the word out,” Robicheau said.

Last week, signs were posted at the trailheads within Jamies Pond, describing the work.

The plan includes removal of certain trees to allow other, younger trees to flourish, thus increasing foraging opportunities for deer, snowshoe hare and turkey, and deer wintering area work to increase browse and patch openings in aspen-dominated areas to provide habitat for both grouse and woodcock.

In a letter to the Kennebec Journal, Hallowell resident Joan Sturmthal expressed concern that the project would change the wildlife area forever because of the tree cutting, the use of heavy construction equipment and the construction of roads.

The area is a major destination for hikers, cross-country skiers and fishermen, Robicheau acknowledged, and he said his department takes into account all the recreational activities that happen at Jamies Pond.

“(Our project) is very much geared toward wildlife and wildlife habitat first and foremost,” he said. And despite what many have described as extensive tree cutting and removal, Robicheau said this project’s scope is consistent with any of the other wildlife areas the department manages throughout the state.

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“Most of the trees being removed are individual trees or small groups, and we will probably only take out about one-fourth to one-third of the trees on any given acre,” Robicheau said. “Only about 70 percent of the Jamies Pond area will be affected by the project.”

Robicheau said that some management access roads will need to be built to accommodate maintenance vehicles removing timber and other debris, and he said some of the roads will appear to be permanent because of how roads are constructed, although they will not be open to vehicles.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. June 29 at the Hallowell City Hall auditorium.

A day earlier, the department is hosting a walking tour of Jamies Pond at 11 a.m. to give people a better sense of the project and how and why it is being done.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ


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