DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The banks and adjacent land by the Piscataquis River at the former Moosehead-Mayo mill site are now cleared and fixed up with new trees planted thanks to funding provided by an $8,000 Project Canopy grant with an in-kind contribution covered by work put in by town employees and volunteers.
“You could not see the river because there were two berms with all kinds of trees and shrubs growing out of them,” said Dr. Ken Woodbury Jr., community development director for the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council. He explained that when the property was used for manufacturing a nearby hillside was dug up to create more usable land, and the dirt was deposited by the riverbanks.
Woodbury said some large rocks were removed from the berms, so “we are putting these here to protect the banking.”
“We got permission from the [Department of Environmental Protection] to restore the land to its natural contour,” he added. He explained that half of the Project Canopy money could be used for replacing diseased and missing trees along the town right-of-way and the other half for restoring the land as part of a larger Riverfront Redevelopment project.
“We took out old shrubs and invasive species,” he said. “We have planted new trees that are attractive to birds, provide fall color and spring flowers.”
Woodbury said a riverwalk, another grant-funded project to improve the site extending about half a mile from Moosehead Lane to the dam, will go right by the area fixed up with the Project Canopy funds, with much of the path following the existing roadway. The walk will include signs, a gazebo and exercise stations, covered by a Communities for Maine’s Futures grant.
Closer to the dam and across the river from South Street, the land was also reseeded and shrubs planted. Woodbury said at several locations along the riverfront, rocks were put in to assist with drainage.
“We have a much more parklike setting for people to enjoy the beauty of the river,” Woodbury said. “The tree committee recommended what to plant and where to plant it.”
The area now includes species such as service berry bushes, forsythia, clump birch, red bud trees and bass wood. Woodbury said when the CMF funding becomes available, identification signs will be placed by the various species.
“There is $1,000 more of woody shrubs and trees coming in next week, so it’s not done,” he said. “At the other end, we are still working on putting the granite blocks in.”
The $8,000 is the third Project Canopy grant awarded to Dover-Foxcroft in the past five years. The first grant funded the identification of notable trees around town and the second provided money to replace trees lost to natural causes as well for those needing to be removed in various projects. Woodbury said the community is eligible to apply for Tree City status now that a number of new trees have been planted.