ORLAND—Victor Skorapa, 21, of Freeport—a student at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine—bested a field of 17 runners to win the Wildlands Snowshoe Race on Sunday, Feb. 7. This winter’s run featured pleasant temperatures and softening snow—a big contrast to last season’s deep powder and bitter cold! Only about half the runners sported snowshoes; the rest wore trail shoes. Skorapa finished the rugged 4.9-mile slog (in snowshoes) from Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery up and over the flank of Great Pond Mountain and back in 41:35.
The Maine Maritime Academy Snowshoe Team sent four men plus coach Ryan King this year to earn the top three slots in the race. J. Chase Reidelbach, 22, of Virginia Beach came in second with a time of 42 minutes; and Kyle Huston, 23, of Washburn, ME earned third place, finishing the run in 46:44.
Top female finishers were Nicole Grohoski, 32, of Ellsworth, who took fourth place overall with a time of 46:56; Amy Dowley, 30, of Machias, sixth place overall with a time of 47:45; and Christina Dykeman, 27, of Trenton, 8th place overall with 50:29.
CLICK HERE for a full list of race results.
The snowshoe race was part of Winter Fun Day, sponsored by Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust. The day also featured a bonfire and hot dog roast and primitive skills demonstrations, and proceeds benefitted the land trust, which owns and manages the 4,500-acre Great Pond Mountain Wildlands in Orland.
Want to see photos? Go to our Shutterfly album.
Judson Cake of Bar Harbor was the overall winner of the 6.3-mile Wildlands Trail Run, held on a rainy fall Sunday, October 25. Cake, 37, ran the course up and over Oak and Flag Hills in the Great Pond Mountain Wildlands in 43:41. Andy Goupee of Dedham took 2nd overall with a time of 45:18, and Patrick Powers of Trenton came in 3rd in 48:21.
Jennifer VanDongen, 37, of Bar Harbor, was female overall winner (third year in a row) and came in fourth place with a time of 48:55. Second place woman was Caitlin Cross with a time of 54:41, followed by Katrina Linscott of Seal Cove with 55:40. Follow these links for Overall Results and Results by Age Class. Photos by Hans Krichels are available at our Shutterfly page.
Forty-eight runners hit the tough and muddy course, down this year from the usual 70+ due to the weather. This is the third year for the race as part of the Downeast Double Trouble Trail Race Challenge, consisting of the Wildlands Trail Run, followed by Frenchman Bay Conservancy’s Autumn Trail Run in Sullivan, to be held November 1 (Visit www.frenchmanbay.org). Those running both races earn special prizes and the glory of being named Double Trouble champions; last year’s champions were Powers and VanDongen.
Big thanks to our volunteers and staff: Peter Keeney, Jennifer Riefler, Ryan King, Maddy Glover, Bonnie and Jack MacBrayne, Karen Cote, Brian Keegstra, Olga Lange, Dan Rhodes, Hans Krichels, Nancy Minot, Dawn Charnetzky, Tobin Peacock, Iris Simon, Chris & Karen Johnson, Emily Hawkins, Connie Tuller, Karen Keeney, the Berry family, Gene Behrenshauser, Patrick Reid, Geo Atwood, John Wedin and all our bakers.
Please thank our sponsors: Stanley Subaru; Nick Vachon, Podiatrist; MacLeod’s Restaurant (great chili!); Awards, Signage & Trophies; Curtis Family Shoe; Tradewinds; Cadillac Mtn. Sports; Morton’s Moo; Acadia Whale Watch; Pat’s Pizza Bar harbor, EPI Pizza, Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop, First Express, Dion Snowshoe Co., Hannaford in Bar Harbor.
At GPMCT’s Annual Meeting July 12, members will vote on revised bylaws and a new slate of board members and officers, and say goodbye to several board members terming out. Click HERE for an agenda!
Departing board members include Ted Van Leer of Lexington, VA and Alamoosook Lake, Orland, who has now served a total of 12 (non-consecutive) years on the board; Nick Webster of NY, NY and Toddy Pond in Surry; and Paul Liebow of Bucksport. Secretary Barbara Malm of Blue Hill & Surry also stepped down this year. We have so appreciated their service!
The new board member slate includes Jackie Hewett of Dedham; Carl Derian of Bloomfield Hills, MI and Alamoosook Lake, Orland; Mike Bouthot of East Orland; Chris Johnson of Bucksport; and Maddy Glover of Bucksport. See their bios HERE.
The new officer slate is: Emily Hawkins, President & Asst. Treasurer; Sarah LeVine, VP; Mike Bouthot, Treasurer; Maddy Glover, Secretary.
Over this past winter, GPMCT undertook a thorough review of our bylaws with the help of Attorney Fred Stocking. The result is a document that’s changed quite a bit from the original version! Our goals are to have the by-laws reflect current practices of GPMCT, assure consistency with Maine Non-Profit Statutes, be consistent with our policies and practices and allow for greatest flexibility. Members will be asked to vote on the revised bylaws and articles of incorporation. Here are links to a Summary of Proposed Bylaw Revisions, to view and download the Revised GPMCT Bylaws, or a Bylaws redline version (showing original w/corrections). The Summary will also be included in our Summer newsletter. Our Articles of Incorporation will also be amended to update old membership info.
Outdoor adventurers will have a new destination in Bucksport this year, now that GPMCT has received a stunning 65-acre forest and blueberry field on the town-abandoned Upper Long Pond Road.
The property sits high on the north side of a ridge and contains a 5.5-acre blueberry field, a 5-acre wetland and 50+ acres of mixed woods. From the blueberry field, the view north to the Stone House area and Peaked Mountain is spectacular. An old cellarhole, stone walls, apple trees and perennials on the property tell the story of a vanished community on this road that dates back to at least 1792, called “Santiago” on 19th century maps.
Joan Kimball, a musician living in Philadelphia, donated the land to the Trust in March. When Kimball and her (now ex) husband bought the land in 1975, she was enchanted and struck by the tremendous variety it offered. She remembers “walking onto it and seeing the wonderful sloping meadow, being close to the creek (Colby Brook) and walking back into the forest to see the wonderfully old white pines. The forest seemed to have every tree native to Maine.” The couple and their daughter enjoyed camping on the land for several years, exploring the swimming holes in Colby Brook and drinking from natural springs nearby.
The property conserves the upland buffer to Colby Brook, rich in native trout habitat, and includes a beaver pond and a variety of other habitats for local wildlife. A visit last fall turned up nodding ladies’ tresses, a native orchid, at the edge of the blueberry field.
Why donate the property for conservation? Kimball and her husband never did build the little cabin they envisioned on the land so long ago, and now her family has another Maine retreat. Donating the land for others to enjoy seemed like the thing to do. “I’d known about the Trust and was a member, and thought ‘why not’? Why hold onto something I’m not benefiting from? Why not let it be enjoyed by more people?”
The Trust plans to turn an old woods road on the property into a hiking trail out to the beaver pond and back, to put up a sign and improve a couple of parking spots. The blueberry field has been managed for years by Allen’s Blueberries in Ellsworth, and GPMCT plans to keep the field open and will work with Allen’s for at least one more two-year cycle, while researching our options for other types of blueberry management, including organic. GPMCT will pay taxes on the property through the Open Space program.
The Kimball property is at the center of a 2,480-acre expanse of forest and blueberry fields along the Upper Long Pond Road that has yet to be invaded by paved roads, electricity or housing developments. This area is mostly in Bucksport, but stretches into Orland and up to Dedham’s Peaked Mountain and Moulton Pond. It is just west of Dodge Hill and White’s Mountain, now being studied by Eolian Energy for possible siting of three wind turbines. It’s an area identified by Ecologist Janet McMahon as a potential focus for local conservation in a 2013 study GPMCT commissioned. The study is being shared with the Bucksport Comprehensive Plan Committee this spring to see whether town residents or local landowners have an interest in seeing the area remain wild and accessible to the public into the future. The Upper Long Pond Road, despite its rough condition in spots, gets a lot of use by local people looking for a place to hike, hunt and fish and ride bikes, horses, snowmobiles and ATVs.
Tony Dalisio of Waterville bested fifteen other runners to win the 13th annual Wildlands Snowshoe Race on Saturday, Feb. 14. Dalisio, 32, completed the brutally cold and snowy 4.9-mile course in 49 minutes, 7 seconds. He was followed by Victor Skorapa of Freeport, with a time of 52:03, and the female winner, Jennifer VanDongen of Bar Harbor, who finished the course in 55:04. For full race results, click GreatPondSSResults2015. For photos, go to our Shutterfly Gallery.
The course was a labor of love for about a dozen volunteers, who spent hours clearing bent saplings and broken branches and breaking five miles of trail for days beforehand!
The Race was part of Wild Winter Fun Day, which also included the Wild Winter Scramble Obstacle course and a talk by Brian Theriault, Master Snowshoes Maker. If you missed his talk, we have his DVD available to loan, or you can visit his website at www.ilovesnowshoes.com.
The race is an annual fundraiser for Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, which owns and maintains the 4,500-acre Great Pond Mountain Wildlands property. Visitors are welcome to enjoy many miles of trails open for snowshoeing, x-c skiing and snowmobiling.
Big thanks go to Peter Keeney, Jennifer Riefler, Geo Atwood, John & Kristen Wedin, Lin Gould, Patrick Reid, Dave Doherty, Brian Keegstra, Chris & Cheri Domina, Hans Krichels & Kidspeace, Connie Tuller, Ryan King, Emily Hawkins, Dawn Charnetzky, Gene Behrenshauser, Dawn Curtain, Tyler Young, Jack & Bonnie MacBrayne, Barbara Malm, Lucy Leaf, Karen Cote, Gunilla Kettis, Stan Pelletier, Mary and Parker Keller, Beth Mitchell, Paul Jack, Ralph & Jessy Hosford for all your help! Plus our prize donors: Hannaford, A&B Naturals of Bar Harbor, Trailhead Café of Bar Harbor, Pat’s Pizza, Cadillac Mtn. Sports, Epi’s Pizza of Bar Harbor and McKee Foods.