Recreation

Hunting Rules & Legal Hunting Hours for 2014/2015

This Saturday, November 1 marks the start of the 2014 whitetail deer rifle season. For all you last minute planners out there here are links to the hunting hours chart from Maine DIFW and the Hunting and Trapping rules and regulations for 2014/2015.  If you forgot your license you can log in and buy online with the link at the bottom of this post. Good luck and be safe.

Maine whitetail deer

2014 - 2015 Maine Hunting Rules & Regulations

Legal Hunting Hours

Get a license online from MOSES site

Maine Hunting Zones (WMD)

How Snowmobile and ATV Trails Effect Maine Real Estate

Why do you want to purchase a Maine log cabin or seasonal home for vacation with lots of land? Many buyers do for recreation opportunities. Acreage that fronts a local trail system or one of the statewide ITS snowmobile trails is appealing to many buyers who love outdoor power sports. ATV riders often enjoy rules in Maine that allow their machines to be operated on or along paved roads to access connecting trails.

Are Trails an Easement?

Riding the trails in Maine is a tradition that goes back nearly 100 years. Aside from a few state owned trails, snowmobile and ATV trails are on private land with land owner's permission. Keep this in mind while you are enjoying the ride and appreciating the views along the trail. The property owner has no obligation to allow this access. Large land companies allow this for public relations. Private individual landowners may allow access because they like to ride or just do so to help their neighbors enjoy Maine. All do this for free. You can help avoid losing this access by staying on the trails and practicing carry in carry out ethics.

Trails Impact Market Value

We are often asked if a trail on near a land listing has a positive or negative effect on the property's market value. The influence on value will be a positive if the majority of prospective buyers like snowmobiling and off road vehicle sports. A large segment of buyers do enjoy it and either live here or come to Maine for the extensive trail system. The trail can have a negative impact on value if it is poorly situated, too close to an existing home or camp and if it has damaged the property with deep ruts and litter left behind by irresponsible operators.

Liability

Another question that is often asked us by prospective buyers is "What liability will I have because a trail crosses or fronts my property?" The State of Maine has a landowner liability law also referred to as the recreational use statute. The law favors Maine landowners and protects them from suits brought by persons on your land for recreation and other uses.  According to the Maine.gov web page, there has not been a single reported successful case against a landowner where the Maine Landowner Liability law applied.

Join a Club

If you love power sports you need to join a snowmobile or ATV club or organization. These groups are organized by community leaders who help maintain trails, work to get landowner permission for the trails, organize rides, do community and charitable fund raising, maintain club houses for a place to stop or trailer to and so many other benefits not mentioned here. If you do not have time to participate, at least make the monetary contribution of membership. This money will help keep your favorite trails open.

Finding Trail Maps

Maps are not always easy to find. Local club membership will help make locating a map easier. Club membership also will introduce you to experienced riders who often will show you the trails. Many of Maine's recreational trails are in remote regions, for safety, try to ride with others in case of a breakdown. The Maine Snowmobile Association has an excellent trail map of Maine's ITS trails. See the links below to help understand Maine liability laws, locate trail maps and clubs for different regions of Maine.

Maine Landowner Liability Information

https://www1.maine.gov/IFW/aboutus/commissioners_office/OutdoorPartnersPgrm/landowner_liability_explained.htm

Maine Snowmobile Association

http://www.mesnow.com/

ATV Maine

http://www.atvmaine.org/

Investing in Maine Timberland

A friend asked me today if Maine timberland is a good investment. I think it is and invest in it myself.  For me, there are many reasons for doing so.

I became interested in timberland because it has been a proven investment for many of my clients and other family members. I have witnessed well managed land provide periodic returns of stumpage while the land remained well stocked with trees for future harvest. As an investment, one of the key features of timber is the ability for the owner to leave trees on the stump to grow and move up to a more valuable product class. Unlike other crops, if markets are not good, trees can be left for a later harvest when markets improve.  Additionally, with a number of other potential uses, land values over time usually continue to rise.

 

Managed Clear Cut

Managed Clear Cut

 

I would also credit forestland for helping to improve my mental health. Spending time in the forest I own has a relaxing effect on my mind.  Doing the physical work of timber stand improvement not only helps increase the value of my woodlot, I find it the perfect stress reliever as it lets me forget about the complications of our modern world.  Improving land of any kind gives me and most others I know a great feeling of accomplishment.

As a hunter, owning timberland gives me the ability to help our local game animals by managing areas for them. New growth from a harvest provides a desirable food source and cover for many of our favorite species like ruffed grouse, woodcock, rabbit, whitetail deer and moose. Areas left heavily wooded will provide good winter cover for those same animals.

The State of Maine gives a landowner a better chance at the any deer permit lottery. Any private landowner is eligible for the landowner permit drawing if the person owns a particular piece of land that is: 25 or more contiguous acres in size; is agricultural, forested or undeveloped land; and open to hunting, including hunting by permission. Any dependent living in the household of a qualifying landowner is eligible.

Maine has another benefit for timberland owners. The tree growth tax program is a special tax status available for owners who agree to manage their lands the commercial harvest of the forest. This reduction in property tax is the reward for the landowner to properly care for the forest and provide the raw materials that support our forest products industry. The requirement to have a Maine licensed forester provide a management plan also ads value to the ownership.

Timberland is a great asset that can provide you with cash returns, pride of ownership and recreational pastimes; it is also a potential legacy for your children and grandchildren. Properly managed forests have historically supplied generations of owners with all of the above.

If you are interested in learning more about timberland investing, United Country Real Estate's timberland specialty property group has an informative free E Book written by Eric J. Holzmueller PhD.  Eric is a forester and one of United Country's many licensed foresters who are also land brokers. You can download the free book at http://investintimberland.com/

Recreation and Land Opportunities on the Penobscot River

Named for the Native American tribe, the Penobscot River has a history as a colonial trade route and the delivery system for the logging industry in Maine during the hay-day of river driving. With its 4 branches and main stem it is reported to be about 350 miles long. The Penobscot originates from large northern Maine lakes and drains an immense area of northern Maine. Several other river system drain into the Penobscot such as the Mattawamkeag River, the Piscataquis River and the Passadumkeag River. One could spend a lifetime exploring the Penobscot and its many branches.

The north and south branches are in a remote wilderness part of Maine. Getting there requires a long drive over access controlled logging roads. The land owner association that owns these roads charges a nominal fee at the gates managed by North Maine Woods (www.northmainewoods.org) and also maintains many camp site locations along these stretches of river which they also charge a small fee for. This is a scenic area that will appeal to hikers and photographers. The river has a wild population of brook trout and landlocked salmon. The ruffed grouse hunting in this part of main is legendary. The north and south branches feed into the West Branch. This area is mostly owned by large institutional landowners. You can't find much land to buy here unless you are in the market for the occasionally offered township.

 

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater Rafting

 

The West Branch of the Penobscot is THE whitewater river in Maine. The river segment beginning at McKay Station in the Ripogenus Gorge to Debsconeag Falls has a commercial rafting industry that thrills thousands every year. This section of river is also world known for its challenging fly fishing for wild landlocked salmon. This area is also mostly owned by large landowners and with much conservation easement you will rarely find any property for sale in this section with the exception of a few camps or cabins on leased land.

 

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Fly fishing the West Branch Penobscot

 

The upper reaches of the East Branch of the Penobscot is wild brook trout heaven. This section is a very scenic canoeing hotspot with views of Mount Katahdin and the other nearby mountains. Those canoeing this section should plan ahead for portages around a few tricky falls. Buyers looking for a camp or home site can occasionally find land for sale at the lower end of the East Branch.

The West and East Branches of the Penobscot come together in Medway to form the main stem of the river. From this point to the Atlantic Ocean is where you will find many small and large land parcels for sale. Prices here will vary greatly depending on the quality of the waterfront. From Medway to Old Town the river is noted as one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the United States. The river still has a small protected run of Atlantic salmon, sorry no fishing allowed for them at this time. A recent restoration project in the Bangor area has breached a number of old dams and has reopened the river to runs of shad, alewives and other anadromous species. This segment of the river is also a great spot for boating including trips from Bangor to the open ocean.

The Penobscot River is my favorite Maine river. If you come to Maine to buy land or just to enjoy the outdoors be sure to put it on your list of places to visit.

 

Snowshoeing - A Recreation Activity for Maine Land

Have you purchased Maine land for recreation use? Are you looking for things to do in the winter? Why not give snowshoeing a try. This fast growing sport has outpaced skiing and snowmobiling. The relatively low cost of entry and health benefits may be the two biggest reasons for its growth.

Snowshoe hiking in the winter is great exercise burning up to 600 calories per hour not to mention that it provides a completely different look at your land. Views unobstructed by foliage are impressive in the winter. For those willing to brave the colder weather they will be rewarded with more solitude.

The trails you make on your land for summer hiking and fall hunting will make great trails for snowshoe hiking in the winter. What snowshoes should you have for your land will depend on the terrain and snow conditions. Deep powder snow will require a longer wider snowshoe to provide more flotation. Steeper and firmer snow conditions will favor a shorter shoe with more aggressive toe crampons for traction.

 

Hiking with land agent Doug Reed in Mount Chase Maine

Hiking with land agent Doug Reed in Mount Chase Maine

 

Affordable winter recreation is the appeal of snowshoeing. Cost of new snowshoes will vary from $100 to $300 or a little more depending on the brand and features. The most important decision in purchasing a shoe is the length. The length of snowshoe needed will depend on the intended use and the weight of the user. If you are new to the sport check out the LL Bean outlet store in Freeport Maine. The ski and bike shop has a big selection of snowshoes of all shapes and sizes and a staff who can help you pick the correct shoe for you.

Before heading off in the woods for a winter hike get prepared. Layers of clothing that can be shed or added as necessary will make your outing much more enjoyable. Snowshoeing can build body heat in a hurry, so be prepared with a pack to stow the layers you take off as you heat up and added for changing weather. This is a sport that rarely causes injury but consider bringing a friend or two in case of an accident. Mishaps in the winter tend to be more of an issue then summer accidents.

 

Phil McPhail showing Maine Land on Snowshoes

Phil McPhail showing Maine Land on Snowshoes

 

Have you explored all of your Maine land and are looking for other places to go. Check out any of Maine's public land units, state parks and other trail areas. The possibilities are near endless

Maine Recreation - Visit Mount Katahdin

I grew up nearby Mount Katahdin and Baxter State Park in north central Maine. I enjoy hiking the many trails, paddling its small ponds and fishing for the parks wild brook trout. For those new to Maine or just discovering the joy of hiking and exploring wild places, I encourage you to visit.

The park was generously donated to the people of Maine by Percival Baxter, Maine governor from 1921 - 1925. It took Baxter many years to raise the funds and negotiate the purchase of the land. Baxter made his final land purchase in the 1960's. Since then additional lands have been acquired and today the park has in excess of 209,000 acres.

 

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Views of Hamlin Ridge from Cathedral Trail

 

 

Without a doubt, the crown jewel of Baxter State Park is Mount Katahdin, Maine's highest peak at about 5,270 feet. When asked why they climb mountains, many people are often heard replying "Because it was there". Well I don't know about the rest of you but I climb mountains for the view, and Katahdin views are some of the best in Maine.

The hike to the top of Maine is not for the unfit. The rugged trails to the peak all vary in difficulty but no matter which trail you pick, it is going to be a long day in the field. This is not intended to discourage you, just know you need to be prepared physically for the experience. Many not familiar with the mountain think that just a mile of elevation is but a hill. Not so, when you start as close to sea level as Katahdin does.

To get to Baxter Peak you have a number of options. From the Park Tote Road you can find parking near the Katahdin Stream Campground and locate the Hunt Trail. This trail is also the Maine end of the Appalachian Trail and does get a lot of use. This is one of the less exposed trails to the summit. The trail is a little more than 5 miles long.

 

Author on Hunt Trail

Author on Hunt Trail

 

Another potential trail option accessed from the Park Tote Road is the Abol Trail. The trail was closed in 2014 because of a debris slide on the existing trail. The Park Authority has made plans to reroute the trail and last word was the trail may be completed by the fall of 2015. Do check with Park Officials before heading out for a hike. There are penalties for any use of the closed trail section.

My favorite trails to the summit of Maine begin from Roaring Brook Campground. From here you will find the Chimney Pond and Helon Taylor Trail heads. The Helon Taylor Trail proceeds to Pamola Peak on the eastern side of Katahdin. From here it is just one mile across the arête known as the Knife Edge to Baxter Peak.

 

 

Basin Pond - Chimney Pond Trail

Basin Pond - Chimney Pond Trail

 

Chimney Pond Trail is one of my favorites for a number of reasons. First it is quite scenic. Second, my wife likes to hike but is not a fan of exposed trails and heights. She enjoys hiking with me to Chimney Pond where she can spend part of the day enjoying the scenery and reading a good book. She is often rewarded with a visit by a moose to the pond. Along this trail a short off trail brings you to the Basin Ponds. The views of Katahdin's north basin from here are stunning. The reason I like this trail the most is because it gets me to my #1 favorite trail - Cathedral.

 

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Ascending Cathedral Trail - Chimney Pond in background

 

The Cathedral Trail gets its name from a series of rock formations that resemble the buttresses and spires of cathedrals. The trail is short but very steep and exposed. If you don't like exposure I would not recommend this trail. If this does not bother you, the views in all directions including Chimney Pond, the Knife Edge, Hamlin Ridge and the outlying expansive forest land are amazing.

 

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Chimney Pond

 

 

There are other trails to the summit that I have not mentioned here. To see more information on these you can get both paper and online maps from the Park Service and other sources. Also, there are many other trails in Baxter State Park that don't require as much commitment as a climb to Baxter Peak. I will try to write about these in future posts.

For park and other information click on the following links:

 

 

Recreation Destination - West Branch Penobscot River

 

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West Branch Penobscot River Near Telos Road

 

Today was one of those bitter, cold, I want to stay inside kind of days in Maine. So I had a little day dream of one of my favorite places, the West Branch of the Penobscot River. It flows out of Seboomook Lake just north of Moosehead Lake. This section of the river is extremely remote and is accessed by private logging roads from either the Rockwood area or though the Katahdin Region via Millinocket. There is no need to give you directions just pick up a copy of the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer. I never drive into remote sections of Maine without it. Most of the real estate in this region of Maine is owned by large timberland owners who rarely sell, so finding a recreational property to purchase may not be possible. The good news for outdoors people, these owners do allow access to their lands through the North Maine Woods organization with manned gated checkpoints. They will charge reasonable road use and camping fees so have a little cash with you when you enter the woods. Fishing is good for landlocked salmon in the pools below the dam on Seboomook. Be careful wading the river is deep and fast in places. A canoe can be launched and a wilderness canoe trip from here to Hanibal's Crossing on the Golden Road would make for a great outing. From the crossing the West Branch flows though remote forest to Chesuncook Lake where moose and deer are more plentiful than people. Expect to see them wading in the shallows around a bend in any of the slower river sections.

 

Rafting in Maine

Rafting in Maine

 

The next section of the West Branch begins at McKay Station below Ripogenous Dam. This is the most popular and busy section of the river. This is where many white water rafting and kayaking enthusiasts begin their journey. This is no place for a canoe! Fishing is possible around the power station and occasionally a lunker landlocked salmon is caught here. The whitewater begins immediately below the station and is an exciting experience if you are brave enough to give it a try. The steep canyon walls and rapids through this section make fishing difficult to impossible. The water flattens out briefly at Little Eddy and can be fished from shore with careful wading or from a canoe. This is fly fishing only water from the dam to the bridge at Telos Road and the landlocked salmon need to be 26 inches or longer to be kept with trophy fish caught every year.

The West Branch from Rip Dam to Ambajejus Lake is probably the most scenic section of the river with Mount Katahdin towering above it. The gorge near the dam has a rough trail along the north river bank. Great views of the river and its steep canyon walls along this trail make it worth bringing your camera. Paddlers will be challenged by some of the most technical whitewater in Maine with some class 4 and 5 rapids just before the Big Eddy.

 

Fly Fishing West Branch Maine

Fly Fishing West Branch Maine

 

There is a wilderness campground run by the Chewonki Foundation at the Big Eddy. This can be accessed by car from the Golden Road out of Millinocket. The campground has plenty of sites for campers, tents and a few cabins are available. You can also get a hot shower if you have been in the wilderness for several days.

Below the Big Eddy a series of rapids and dead waters meander through the woods before the river flows into the Pemadumcook Chain of Lakes at Ambajejus Lake. Along the way you pass the southern boundary of Baxter State Park, the Appalachian Trail and many good camping spots. Leaving the lakes at North Twin Dam, the West Branch flows through a series of ponds and dams, around the town of Millinocket and East Millinocket eventually meeting the East Branch to form the main stem of the Penobscot River in Medway. The adventurous angler will enjoy some secret landlocked salmon spots and truly remarkable smallmouth bass fishing in the small stump filled ponds.

 

Landlocked Salmon

Landlocked Salmon

 

Come to the West Branch this year and enjoy the outdoors. A couple of notes before you get here. The upper river water levels can change quickly below the dams so use caution when wading the river. The State of Maine has a ban on transporting firewood in hopes to stop the spread of invasive insects like the Emerald Ash Borer and others. Do us a favor and buy your campfire wood at the camp sites. Finally, if you are bringing a boat and motor and waders, be sure to property clean them to prevent the spread of invasive plants and organisms. Maine has been fortunate to avoid many of the pests that have plagued other areas of the U.S.

If you are looking for a property in the West Branch Region, land, home or camp, check out the listing on this site or at United Country McPhail Realty

If you are new to the area and want an expert to show you the river and other secrets of this part of Maine, click HERE to contact our favorite Master Maine Guide.

Recreational Land Investment For Sale Somerset County

This newly listed forested lot for sale in Concord Township, Somerset County has all of the components for quality recreation and investment. When buying land many of our customers have a list of similar requirements. Here is a list of the most commonly requested features which this lot enjoys.

  1. Good Access - A parcel of land that you cannot legally get to has reduced value. The savvy buyer will be sure the acreage they are looking for has a good deeded right of way or fronts on a maintained public road. Care should be taken to certify an apparent access is a legal one.
  2. Power - Some customers will consider off grid locations, but the majority of people like the convenience of being on the grid because it is simply cheaper and easier.

     

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    136 +/- acres Concord Twp - Little Houston Brook Road frontage with electric at street.

     

  3. Dry Land - Maine buyers know that finding a large parcel of property that is completely free of wetland is probably impossible with all the streams, ponds, vernal pools and forested wetlands in our state. They look for a good percentage of dry land with soils that promote the growing of trees and other plants. The dryer the land the more options for building sites and future development there will be.
  4. Water Frontage - Almost every potential buyer either wants to be on or near some kind of water. Man is naturally drawn to wild rivers, streams, lakes and ponds for the recreation, views and resources.

     

    Frontage on Houston Brook in Winter 2015

    Lots of Frontage on Houston Brook

     

    Interior Roads - On larger tracts of land having a road or trail system is a great advantage to better use the land. The best parcels have a road through the property that makes available different building sites and a reduced cost for managing the timber on the property.

  5. Views - It is difficult to put a value on great views, but most customers hope to find them on the parcel they purchase.

     

    Nearby Kennebec River in Bingham Maine

    Nearby Kennebec River in Bingham Maine

     

  6. Nearby Recreation - When buying a property location is a big consideration. For those investing in land for recreation, things like maintained trails for snowmobile, ATV riding and hiking are a big benefit. Nearby waterways for fishing and boating appeal to the outdoor minded buyer. Another important  consideration is the culture in the area. Do the local residents also appreciate the natural environment and are there nearby businesses and services catering to the rec buyer.

     

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    Nearby Groomed and Maintained Snowmobile Trails

     

  7. Timber - Not all buyers are focused on commercial timber value, but few desire to own a recent clear cut. As an investment, timber has always been a pretty safe bet for the long run. Healthy stands of trees of various ages, quality soils for better growth and the proximity of nearby markets for the harvested timber all will be considered by the educated investor.

If you are reading this and are like many of our other customers looking for the features listed above, this new listing in Concord Township has all of these features. It contains 136 +/- acres of wooded land with frontage on a 4 season road, electric at the street, frontage on a mountain trout stream, some quality trees, interior road and just minutes from the Kennebec River and other recreation. See more details at our LISTINGS or call or email for a complete property information package.

ATV Trails and Land Use in Maine

People purchase property in Maine for many reasons but at some level the recreational opportunities are always a factor.  It doesn't matter what time of year, if you enjoy the outdoors there are always activities available regardless of your age. Winter in Maine offers snowshoeing, ice fishing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing and snowmobiling.  The clear blue skies and fresh white snow draping the landscape is a sight to see. Spring in Maine, a welcome season after a long winter brings some of the best brook trout fishing in the Northeast.  Ice out on our lakes brings anglers a cure from the cabin fever and trolling for salmon can be very productive. With the spring thaw comes our mud season and once things dry out the ATV trails open up (usually mid May) over 6,000 miles of club trails across Maine.  As an outdoor enthusiast, I am very thankful for the private landowners that allow multiuse trail systems to be used across their lands. Between snowmobiles and ATV's, businesses across Maine realize a big economic boom from these types of recreational activities.  An economic study completed by the University of Maine in 2005 showed a net spending of $156 million for the 2003-2004 season. If you enjoy ATV riding, we have some of the most affordable properties in Maine for sale with easy access to the trails and you can see them at LandBrothers.com Some things you should know and prepare for to make your atv trip in Maine safe and enjoyable are as follows:

  1. Make sure your ATV is registered and properly marked front and back with the registration number.
  2. Children must be at least 10 years old, have passed a state ATV safety program, wear an approved helmet if under 18 years old and riders between 10-16 years of age must be under the direct visual and audio supervision of an adult (21 or older). Approved helmets must have a "DOT", "SNELL" or "ANSI" sticker.
  3. When riding, stay on market trails and for unmarked trails you need landowner permission.
  4. Plan your trip of where you will be riding in advance. Make sure you have trail maps and more importantly call the local club trail master to check on trail conditions and technical difficulty of each trail. Trail maps do not indicate the difficulty or skill level needed to traverse any given trail number so it is critical to your safety to contact the trail master and ask what trails will get you to where you want to go safely.
  5. Use the buddy system and never ride alone. Make sure you leave a map of your route and travel plans with someone outside your party in case of an emergency.
  6. Check the weather for the area you will be riding and bring the right clothing. Always bring a first aid kit, survival kit, and tool kit. The biggest killer of people recreating outdoors is hypothermia from spring to late fall. The nights in Maine do get cold so be prepared, especially if you are taking a long ATV trip on remote trails that are miles from services.
  7. The day of your trip make sure you have filled the gas tank and perform a pre-ride inspection of your ATV. The web site www.offroad-ed.com has some great videos on safety, pre-ride inspection and safe riding techniques.
  8. On multi-use trails be sure to respect the right of other non ATV riders to use the trail system. If you meet someone on horseback, please pull off to the side and shut your machine off. Wait until they have passed a clear distance or if they waive you on.
  9. Remember, using these trails is a privilege and not a right. You are enjoying these trails by the good graces of the land owner. If you see some trash on the land and can pick it up, please do. If it is a large amount of trash, call the Maine Warden Service, Landowner Relations Program and report the area.

Be safe and enjoy the great state of Maine!