Summer in the Mahoosucs
Friday, August 9, 2019
By Jacob Burgess, 2019 Maine Coast Heritage Trust Conservation Intern
It has honestly been one of the best and most relevant summer jobs I’ve had, providing me with rewarding experiences and the opportunity to put the skills I’ve acquired studying conservation management to work.
The Pathways and Land Trust were the yin and yang to my summer. With the Pathways, each week brought a new project and a new skill to work with, and with the Land Trust, I got to work on a special project that lasted the whole summer.
Varied work for Mahoosuc Pathways
Interning for Mahoosuc Pathways, I led a volunteer group of kids from Outward Bound in a project to create a new stretch of a trail on Mount Will and wrote an original survey on recreationist demographics to showcase the benefits that recreation opportunities provided by Pathways has on the town economy and went out to trailheads to survey people personally. I also trimmed, re-blazed, and swamped trails, did GPS work, and went out to trails to take pictures of visitors for social media.
I helped Pathways with their involvement with the mountain bike regional organization called The Borderlands by acting as a one-man film crew assistant during the production of a Borderlands promotional film. I also created a hiking trail to summit views, weed-whacked a picnic area, and cleared a mountain biking route for the new Bethel Community Forest.
King of the parking lot for Mahoosuc Land Trust
Finally, I spent much of my time with Mahoosuc Land Trust at Step Falls Preserve. This spot has become increasingly popular over the years, and my job each weekend was dual purpose: I welcomed people to the area (this is where any prior experience with customer service comes in handy), and directed parking in the inconveniently tiny lot at the trailhead (I dubbed myself “welcome wagon and king of the parking lot”).
The highlight of the summer
Telling people to park tight, giving them brochures, and reminding them to donate at the kiosk was one thing, but a real highlight of the summer was being invited to a meeting between the Land Trust and the Maine Warden Service, where I got to voice input towards improving landowner relationships in that area. The input I provided was met with approval by the trust staff and board members, who were pleased that I could be there to come up with plans for addressing a specific management issue.
In short, this was a truly incredible summer experience. The people I got to work for were the best, the region was magnificent, and I got to see firsthand how a private non-profit contributes to the recreational opportunities and conservation of the state just as well as state and federal programs.