Behind the Bow Saw: Frenchman Bay Conservancy

March 11, 2020 Claire Polfus
Tips & Tricks, Stewardship

Maine is full of beautiful trail systems that provide access to amazing places! Behind every mile of trail there is a trail manager, whether professional or volunteer, working hard to ensure the trails are open for all to enjoy. Our ongoing series, Behind the Bow Saw, introduces you to the great people who build and maintain your favorite trails across Maine. For this installment, we asked Kat Deely, Land Protection Manager for the Frenchman Bay Conservancy a few questions.  

 
 
 
Name:
Kat Deely
Where you live:
Seal Harbor, Maine
Organization:
Frenchman Bay Conservancy

 

Photo courtesy: Kat Deely
Photo courtesy: Kat Deely
Mission:

Frenchman Bay Conservancy conserves distinctive ecosystems, lands, and waters for the benefit of all, from the Union River and Frenchman Bay watersheds east to the Hancock County line.

 

Waterfall at Frenchman Bay Conservancy's Schoodic Bog preserve
Waterfall at Frenchman Bay Conservancy's Schoodic Bog preserve
What are you currently working on?

Currently I'm working on land protection projects. I am meeting with landowners who own land of conservation value to discuss how we might best achieve a conservation outcome for the future of the land. Land protection is really a conversation between a land trust and the landowner because individual's goals vary, and as a result, every easement is unique.

In the summer I switch gears and focus on stewardship projects on our Preserves. Last fall we received a Recreational Trails Program grant that will support our project work this summer, building a 'weekend paddlers' trail and hiking trail in Gouldsboro. Last summer we built the new Jordan Homestead trail in Ellsworth, and in doing so, brought together some of the finest volunteers I've ever known! Frenchman Bay Conservancy has about 30 miles of trails which require a lot of maintenance and there's just one of me! We rely on Maine Conservation Corps Trail Crews and Environmental Stewards, professional trail builders like Town 4 Trail Services, and our outstanding volunteer trail crew to build and maintain trails.

Frenchman Bay Conservancy volunteers on trail! Photo courtesy: Kat Deely
Frenchman Bay Conservancy volunteers on trail! Photo courtesy: Kat Deely
New trail at Jordan Homestead, a Frenchman Bay Conservancy preserve
New trail at Jordan Homestead, a Frenchman Bay Conservancy preserve
 
 
Photo courtesy: Kat Deely
Photo courtesy: Kat Deely
Favorite trail memory in Maine:

I grew up fly fishing up in the North Woods. Many of those trails are cut in by guides looking to cut a straight line to a pond or lake. While I have very fond memories of fly fishing in remote ponds, I feel like the experience taught me to appreciate a more well-built trail intended for regular use. Just the same, I think back to those moss-covered, pit and mound, boggy walks fondly.

Best tip for trail users:

Follow the rules, please! As a land manager, one of the most difficult things is visitors who ignore rules or think they know better. Dog owners especially. If a trail has signage asking you to pick-up after your dog, it's probably for a good reason - either the trail sees heavy use by a dog population, or perhaps there's a vernal pool nearby. Dog poop can be a real contaminant to a Nature Preserve, so if we ask you to pick it up, please do!

 

Visit one of Frenchman Bay Conservancy's  preserves and check out their fantastic trails. Support their work by becoming a member or volunteering.

Thanks for all your work, Kat!
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