SWOAM Turns 40

On Wednesday Peter and I attended the annual meeting of the Small Woodlands Owners Association of Maine. This year marks the 40th year for the non-profit group. SWOAM was formed in 1975 by a group of non-industrial forestland owners interested in sharing knowledge about how to better manage their private woodlands to improve tree quality, wildlife habitat and other topics important to Maine land owners.

This year's annual meeting featured an energetic Col. Rick LaFlamme of the Maine Warden Service explaining the New Landowner Relations Program being implemented by his department. The Warden Service, under Rick's leadership, promises to proactively assist Maine's landowners to deal with litter, property damage and the lack of respect shown by the few who don't appreciate the open access offered by many of our state's private land owners.

Maine author and outdoor expert George Smith spoke about his new book "A Life Lived Outdoors" and his good humor and obvious passion for Maine entertained those attending.

Hemant Pendse, University of Maine professor and Director of the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute gave a fascinating talk on new uses for wood including cross laminated wood, uses for nano cellulose, making liquid fuels such as jet fuel from wood and the potential for markets for wood derived sugars. The work of Dr. Pendse and others from the University of Maine, in collaboration with other colleges around the country and private businesses promises to keep Maine and the US the leaders in innovation for new forest products.

The after lunch session included Maine humorist Gary Crocker who kept the group laughing preventing that after meal downer. Following Gary, a panel of four discussed the future of Maine lumber and wood using mills in the state. The panel included members from the sawmill industry, paper industry, timberland appraisal and private consultants. Jason Brochu, of Pleasant River Lumber Company discussed the need for Maine forestland owners to produce quality saw logs and Donna Cassese, Managing Director of Wood Resource Strategy at Sappi Fine Paper told us how her mills have stayed profitable with niche products such as dissolving pulp.

The day was wrapped up with an interesting presentation by forest pathologist Bill Ostrofsky of the Maine Forest Service. Bill talked about well-known pests such as the spruce budworm and emerald ash borer. Bill also told us about a new strain of white pine blister rust fungus and hemlock shoot blight and how to identify these diseases.

Peter and I have been members of SWOAM for a short time. I can say as a Maine woodland owner you certainly get a good value from membership. The monthly newsletter, annual meeting/learning event, more than 50 workshops per year, legislative updates concerning land ownership and many other benefits more than offset the cost of membership.

To learn more about SWOAM, check out the website at

New App for Woodland Owners

At the annual meeting of SWOAM a discussion came up about a new app for smartphones called About My Woods.  I down loaded it immediately and have used it for the past few weeks. It has some great features.

The mapping menu is cool. You will find terrain, satellite, soil, water shed and land cover mapping all showing your location on the earth.

The app has a decent description of plants, trees, wildlife and invasive plants and insects. I like the quality photos and description making identification much easier.

A "who can help" menu has contact information for district foresters, local mills and more.

The app is from the North East State Foresters Association (NEFA) and the best part is it is free.

To get the app go to

Hiking Maine - Borestone Mountain



Borestone Mountain Base Trail


If you like hiking to special places in Maine with mature forest and mountain top views there are many places to see. When in the area of Monson and Greenville, Maine take a drive down the Elliotsville Road and visit the Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary. The 1,600 wilderness area is accessed from Bodfish Road in Eilliotsville, Maine.

From the parking area you have two choices to hike up to the visitor center at Sunrise Pond. You can take  the access road or hike the base trail. Take the base trail up to see the large spruce forest and impressive trail work with stone steps over a well marked trail.


Sunrise Pond

Sunrise Pond - Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary


From Sunrise Pond the summit trail ascends Borestone Mountain over a well maintained trail. The trail is about 1 mile to the summit. Along the way admire the work of volunteers who have placed many stone steps to avoid trail erosion and add to the enjoyment of the hike. The trail has a few steep inclines and some mild scrambling through rocky ledges.


ascending borestone

Ascending summit trail Borestone Mountain


About 7/10ths of a mile along the trail you will come to the west summit of Borestone Mountain. The views of Sunrise, Midday and Sunset Ponds are impressive. Hiking another 3/10ths of mile will bring you to the east summit.

The summits of Borestone reward you with great views of many lakes and ponds. Lake Onawa to the north of the mountain is set in the foreground. Also visible are the Greenwoods Ponds and Sebec Lake to the east.





Borestone noerth view

Views of Lake Onawa




Pete Borestone

Land Brother Peter McPhail



Views from East Peak

Views from East Peak