It’s Hunting Season!

By Margaret Gerber, BTLT Director of Stewardship

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust recognizes the many intersections that hunting and conservation share, as both require keen observation, and understanding and respect of the natural world. Hunting is an important cultural tradition that has provided sustenance for thousands of years to the people who call Maine home, and continues to provide food, play an important role in conservation, and connect people with nature.

Present day Maine is 94% privately owned with varying levels of public access, and traditional hunting access to land in the greater Brunswick, Bowdoin, and Topsham area is disappearing as ownership changes hands and land is developed.

Hunting is not only an important tradition in Maine, but an important management tool to protect farmers’ livelihoods. Deer can ravage crops overnight and create a significant burden for farmers, straining their finances, endangering the health safety standards of their fields, and costing them valuable time and labor.

Expanded bow archery season begins on September 11th and runs through December 11th, so next time you head out on the trails, remember to wear your blaze orange!

Below is some information for trail users to help ensure a safe visit to the few BTLT trails where bowhunting is allowed:

  • Bowhunting only is currently allowed at Crystal Spring Farm, Tarbox Preserve, and Woodward Cove. Blaze orange vests can be found at the parking area kiosks for visitors to wear while on the trails and return after using. 
  • Hikers should wear blaze orange and exercise caution during hunting season (click here to find hunting season dates).
  • Hunters who you encounter on trails will have their arrows in a quiver while traveling, making it impossible for an arrow to accidentally be fired.
  • Please stay on marked trails and keep your dogs on leash – it is required on all BTLT trails all year long, and is especially important during hunting season to keep deer from being disturbed. There are fines if your dog is off leash and chases deer, so leash your dog or leave them at home during hunting season!
  • Please note that hunting on Sundays is illegal in Maine.
  • Bowhunters are not allowed to discharge an arrow within 75 feet of a trail and are made aware of the location of all trails on the property they are hunting. 
If you are interested in learning more about the Land Trust’s hunting rules or are interested in requesting permission to hunt on Land Trust properties next year, please visit https://www.btlt.org/itshuntingseason/.
The permission window for the current fall 2021 season has closed, but will be open again for spring turkey hunting!

Cathance River Nature Preserve Partially Re-Opened!

Just in time for mud season, BTLT, Cathance River Education Alliance (CREA), and the Preserve landowner, Seacoast Management, are pleased to announce the limited re-opening of Cathance River Nature Preserve following its 2020 closure due to COVID19.

Initially, trails will be accessible only from the Ecology Center parking lot. The Cathance River and Highland Trails will be open as far south as the Rapids Trail. The Beaver and Barnes Leap Trails will also be open. The wearing of masks in outdoor public spaces is still required, so please keep trails safe and open by following this rule.

To ensure a smooth re-opening and make sure that trails can remain open, please do not use closed trails, unfinished re-routes, or closed parking areas.

Hiker Parking will remain closed until trail re-routes around the Sycamore Drive Ext development are complete. Once new bridges associated with trail re-routes are complete, all Preserve trails will open for use.

It is essential that Preserve visitors park only in designated parking areas, which are the Ecology Center parking lot and (when re-routes are complete) Hiker Parking. Most of the streets in Highland Green are not public ways and street parking is not allowed. Please park efficiently to maximize parking space and if parking lots are full, return another day. Check our TRAILS PAGE to find many other wonderful local hikes.

We are delighted to announce this news, but because it is mud season, we caution people to exercise restraint in use of the trails until things dry out. In the meantime, please follow best practice for hiking during mud season: wear waterproof footwear that can get muddy; walk through, not around, muddy areas to avoid extending the damage and widening the path more than necessary; hike early or late in the day when temps are cooler and the ground is firmer.

We thank you for your patience during the closure and look forward to seeing you on Preserve trails in the coming months!

Summer Land Steward Job Opportunity

Position Description: Summer Land Steward, 2021

Part of the Regional Field Team at the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Brunswick Topsham Land Trust, & Phippsburg Land Trust

Job Title: Summer Land Steward

Hours: 40 hours per week for 10 weeks (June 7-August 13)

Compensation: $14.00 per hour

Requires: Availability and use of reliable personal vehicle

 

The Regional Field Team (RFT) is a collaboration between three organizations: Brunswick Topsham Land Trust (BTLT), Phippsburg Land Trust (PLT), and Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT). The Regional Field Team is seeking Summer Land Stewards for the 2021 field season.

 This is an outdoor position helping to maintain, monitor, and manage the protected lands and trails of Maine’s southern midcoast region across thirteen communities. Projects will be conducted on lands protected by all three regional organizations, giving our Summer Land Stewards experience with a wide variety of properties, tasks, and land conservation professionals. This will be an excellent opportunity for networking and gaining land management experience.

 

Opportunities Provided by this Position:

  • Learn plant and animal identification skills,  with a focus on invasive plant species
  • Experience the structure and operation of not-for-profit land trusts, with a particular emphasis on land management
  • Gain hands-on experience with the planning, construction, and maintenance of trails
  • Develop skills in observation and reporting
  • Have the opportunity to work with GPS data collection and basic ArcGIS mapping
  • Learn how read surveys and navigate the boundaries of properties with map, compass, and GPS
  • Spend most of the summer working in the beautiful natural areas of the Maine Coast

Supervision and Team Design:

The Summer Land Steward will work closely with the Stewardship Staff and/or Board Members at each of the land trusts. This summer we are building a Regional Field Team of four Summer Land Stewards; two Land Stewards will be managed primarily from the BTLT office in Brunswick, ME and two Land Stewards will be managed from the KELT office in Bath, ME. There will be opportunities to work jointly as a four-person team as well as working independently at times.  The Land Steward will also have the opportunity to work with and lead groups of volunteers. The Land Steward will frequently meet visitors on our properties. Successful applicants will be expected to act professionally and communicate in a polite manner, both with the public and with fellow team members, as well as follow all applicable COVID-19 guidelines.

Responsibilities:

  • Conduct trail clearing and trimming with loppers, hand-saws, bow-saws, etc.
  • Occasional use of string trimmer or hedge-trimmer for trail clearing
  • Use of chainsaw possible, depending on skill level and project needs
  • Monitor preserve conditions and create detailed reports and maps of problem areas
  • Traverse property boundaries to maintain signage and check for encroachment
  • Assist with occasional clean-up of illicit dumping sites
  • Help to build bog bridges, stone steps, and other trail structures
  • Check and maintain kiosks, map boxes, trail signage, and paint blazing
  • Conduct mechanical control of invasive plants (i.e. cutting, digging, pulling)
  • Assist with any other suitable project, indoor or outdoor, as needed
  • Keep a log of activities and hours completed

Preferred Education/Experience:

Completed High School program, plus some college and/or relevant work experience. Applicants still in HS may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Necessary Qualifications:

  • Driver’s license and reliable personal transportation
  • Ability to lift and carry equipment over rough ground
  • Willingness to work in sometimes adverse conditions including heat, rain, biting insects, and difficult terrain
  • Ability to use hand tools and power tools in the field
  • Ability to work, responsibly, safely, and at times independently
  • Enthusiasm for outdoor work and conservation

Please share with us if you have any similar skills or experiences to those listed below:

  • First Aid Certification
  • Experience working outdoors, particularly on trails
  • Experience communicating with the public
  • Map and compass (orienteering) skills
  • Environmental or ecological study or background knowledge

 

To Apply:

Send a cover letter and resume in one PDF to info@kennebecestuary.org with the subject line ‘Summer Land Steward’. Applicants may also send applications by mail to P.O. Box 1128, Bath ME, 04530.

Please prepare the names and contact information of two references. If an applicant is called to interview, KELT may request the list of references at that time.

Application Deadline:  Friday, March 19th

We’re Hiring: Land Steward

Land Steward

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust

Position: Seasonal Employee 

Hours: 40 hours/week

Duration: May – October

Compensation: $17/hour plus benefits 

 

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust was founded in 1985 to conserve the remarkable diversity of the natural heritage of Brunswick, Topsham and Bowdoin. With the conservation of over 3,000 acres of natural areas, the Land Trust is actively pursuing its mission while maintaining 24 miles of trails, managing a seasonal Farmers’ Market and Community Garden, and collaborating with numerous partners in the area to further conservation and community. To learn more about BTLT, please visit www.btlt.org. 

 This position is part field work, part officebased work that will support the Land Trust’s stewardship and land conservation work and help to maintain, monitor, and manage the protected lands and trails of the Brunswick, Topsham, and Bowdoin region. 

 

Responsibilities: 

Stewardship 

  • Create and update management plans/baseline documents, including associated field work and mapping, for prospective land projects and recently acquired fee properties  
  • Read surveys and navigate boundaries to flag and install permanent markers on fee and easement properties  
  • Assist with property monitoringreport writing, and filing 
  • Manage and engage volunteers to complete trail work, property monitoring, and other stewardship tasks  
  • Assist with coordinating trail work, securing materials and tools  
  • Conduct mapping and mechanical control of invasive plants (i.e. cutting, digging, pulling) as applicable 
  • Work cooperatively with other seasonal staff  
  • Complete other stewardship tasks as needed 

Lands 

  • Create and update baseline documents, including associated field work and mapping, for potential conserved lands projects 
  • Coordinate project tracking and recordkeeping of lands documents 
  • Assist with other lands tasks as needed 

Necessary Qualifications: 

  • Driver’s license and reliable personal transportation 
  • Ability to lift and carry heavy materials and equipment over rough ground 
  • Willingness to work in sometimes adverse conditions including heat, rain, biting insects, and difficult terrain 
  • Ability to use hand tools and power tools in the field
  • Ability to work responsibly, safely, and at times independently 
  • A positive attitude and passion for land conservation 

Please feel free to also let us know if you have: 

  • Previous experience in a stewardship or trail building position 
  • Experience using ArcGIS and making maps 
  • Experience using a chainsaw 
  • Knowledge of local flora and fauna 

Compensation and Benefits:  

This seasonal position includes competitive pay, paid vacation and sick time, the ability to work outside and from home, opportunity to engage with members of the local community, and the chance to further develop land management skills. 

 

To Apply 

Please email a cover letter, resume, and two references to: hiring@btlt.org with “Land Steward Position” as the subject by Sunday, March 21st, 2021. 

 

Equal Opportunity Employer 

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected factors. We actively encourage community members with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and ways of life to consider working with us. 

It’s Hunting Season!

Each year, BTLT staff and volunteers post distinctly orange temporary signage across properties that BTLT owns and easement properties with public trail access where hunting is allowed. While many locals are avid hunters, others are not, and that can leave trail users with many questions about what the dos and don’ts of trail use are during hunting season. Below we have compiled information that addresses commonly asked questions to help illuminate how hunting is managed on BTLT owned and managed properties, and what you can do to safely enjoy your visit to a local trail while helping support the long standing tradition of responsible hunting in Maine. 

Why does BTLT allow hunting? 

BTLT is dedicated to the protection of the land, water, and wildlife of the Brunswick-Topsham area. We are also committed to providing access to these public lands for low-impact and traditional recreation including hunting, where appropriate. 

Hunting is not only an important cultural tradition in Maine that allows for folks to provide sustenance for their families and communities, but is also an important management tool to help control overpopulation of deer. Overpopulation can lead to the outbreak of disease, spreading of ticks, and can also have serious impacts on the environment. In agricultural areas, deer can wipe out entire crops and destroy a farmer’s livelihood overnight. Having a balanced ecosystem is important for plants, animals, and humans. Hunting can help keep that in check when deer populations skyrocket. 

How do you determine where hunting is allowed? 

We assess whether or not to allow hunting on the properties that BTLT owns based on the nature of public access, grant funder restrictions, and the location of abutting residences. Hunting is not legally allowed within 300 feet of a residence and we ask that hunters maintain a good distance from any public trailswhich leaves a number of BTLT properties with an extremely limited area where hunting can take place after applying that buffer, making them not suitable for hunting. Please visit our website in 2021 to see a full list of the BTLTowned properties where we allow hunting by permission. 

If I’m interested in hunting on BTLT owned land, how do I get permission?

BTLT requires that all interested hunters speak on the phone or come in to meet with staff before receiving permission to review property boundaries, the location of any trails, and BTLT’s hunting rules listed below. Please note that BTLT gives permission before hunting season begins, so please plan accordingly! Interested hunters can call the office at 729-7694 or email margaret@btlt.org 

For hunting at Crystal Spring Farm, BTLT starts giving permission at the beginning of August, one month before expanded archery season begins in September. Permission for Crystal Spring Farm is given on a first come, first serve basis until we meet our cap of hunters for the season and/or hunting season begins.  

Hunters are expected to follow all state laws and local ordinances when hunting on BTLT properties, as well as the following rules: 

  • Hunting is allowed with permission only; 
  • Tree stands must be removed daily, except at Crystal Spring Farm; 
  • Hunters must remove all parts of deer bagged on BTLT properties; 
  • Tree stands should be marked with the owner’s name as required by law ; 
  • Hunters are expected to notify the BTLT office if they see anything we should know about; 
  • Hunters should know the location of trails, patterns of use, property boundaries, and nearby residences; 
  • Hunters should cross onto adjacent properties only if they have that landowner’s permission. 

 

What’s the difference when it comes to hunting on an easement property? 

A number of public trails that BTLT manages and maintains are located on privately owned, easement properties. The public is only allowed on the designated trails on these properties, and it is at the discretion of the landowner, or in some cases the easement itself, whether or not hunting is allowed. On these properties, BTLT cannot give hunters permission, but temporary signage will be posted at the trailhead indicating to visitors whether or not hunting is allowed on the property. The public access easement properties where hunting is currently allowed are: 

  • Chase Reserve (Privately owned) 
  • Bradley Pond Farm (Privately owned) 
  • Maquoit Bay Conservation Land (Town owned) 
  • Woodward Point (Partnership Project, owned by Maine Coast Heritage Trust) 

Please respect private landowners and do not approach their residences to ask for permission. 

Are all BTLT properties posted? 

No, currently only Crystal Spring Farm is posted along Pleasant Hill Road to alert hunters and trail users alike that hunting takes place on the property and is by permission only. Given BTLT’s limited staff and resources, we do not post our properties and to date have not had any incidents that pose a safety risk or negatively impact the conservation values of the property. However, should such incidents occur, we would work with the local game warden to post properties as needed.  

Is it safe to be out on the trails at a property where hunting is allowed? 

Yes, however preparation is key to help ensure accidents don’t happen. Come prepared wearing blaze orange, stay on the trail, and keep your dog on a leash.  

If you are on a public access property owned by BTLT, the only hunting taking place will be bow hunting, one of the oldest methods of hunting, practiced for thousands of years and into present day on these lands by the local Wabanaki people. This form of hunting uses archery rather than a firearm, and requires great skill, aim, and carefully placed delivery from a close distance. By requiring permission to hunt on any BTLT owned property, BTLT is able to limit the amount of hunters per property to ensure it is not only safe for users, but not overhunted and therefore worth the effort and time of hunters.  

I own a dog, should I keep my dog at home during hunting season? 

Dogs are required to be leashed at all times on all BTLT trails, and this is especially important during hunting season, because: 

  • You could be fined up to $500 if your dog is found chasing or pursuing a moose, deer, or wild turkey at any time (MRS §12404  PL 2003, c. 614, §9 (AFF) 
  • A game warden can kill a dog outside the immediate care of its owner or keeper if your dog is found chasing, killing, wounding or pursuing a moose or deer at any time (MRS §12404  PL 2003, c. 614, §9 (AFF); PL 2003, c. 655, Pt B §243 (AMD), PL 2003, c 655, Pt B, §422 (AFF) 

So remember to leash your dog, it’s required on all BTLT trails and it could have serious consequences during hunting season! 

 

If I’m out on a BTLT trail and see a hunter clearly not following the law, or an injured deer, or any other hunting related issue that is of concern, what should I do? 

If the concern is serious and requires immediate attention, please contact a Maine Game Warden, available 24 hours a day, at 1-800-452-4664. If it is an issue not requiring immediate assistance, please either call the BTLT office at 729-7694 or email margaret@btlt.org. 

 

Resources 

You can visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife at https://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/hunting-laws/deer-hunting.html to learn more about hunting laws and the dates of hunting season this year. 

Maine Game Wardens can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-800-452-4664. 

Maine Revised Statues as they relate to wildlife causing damage or nuisance https://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/12/title12sec12404.html 

Find what Widlife Management District you live in to learn more about the local ordinances and who your local Game Warden is https://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/hunting-laws/wildlife-management-districts/wmd-map.html 

Still have questions about hunting on BTLT lands? Call 729-7694 or email margaret@btlt.org.