Corridor Monitoring Program

The Maine Appalachian Trail Club is extremely fortunate to have much of the AT in Maine surrounded by 34,000 acres of National Park Service land, but caring for and protecting that land is essential.

MATC Corridor Monitors walk the Trail and the corridor boundary lines looking for timber trespass, trash dumping, illegal motor vehicle crossings, and other encroachments that threaten the condition of corridor resources and reduce the quality of the AT experience. The surveyed boundary itself must be kept clearly visible so that neighboring landowners know where it is, and the regular inspection of boundary line monuments helps to protect against a need for very expensive re-surveys that could be required if monuments are lost. Corridor monitoring offers an opportunity to get off the AT footpath and explore some incredibly beautiful areas that those who only walk the Trail never see. For those seeking something new in Trail stewardship, as well as a little excitement and a chance to satisfy an urge to explore, corridor monitoring may be just what you are looking for. At present, the sections listed below are available for monitoring.

 

Corridor Monitoring Annual Reports

The Thrill of Discovery: Musings of a Corridor Monitor –  An essay by Bill Geller, a corridor monitor for the MATC. “That monument marker was right here when I found it last year, I don’t see it?”  Five minutes later I did find it without having to get out my hand saw, clippers, loppers, line ropes, tape measure and assorted digging instruments. An essay by Bill Geller, a corridor monitor for  the MATC…” Posted 10-20-13 Read “The Thrill of Discovery”

 

HELP WANTED!

OPEN MATC CORRIDOR MONITORING ASSIGNMENTS

(Updated 2/5/17)

There are still some great opportunities for becoming involved in this relatively new, exciting aspect of caring for the Appalachian Trail in Maine.  For information about corridor monitoring and field training sessions, visit the MATC website at www.matc.org or contact me (Dave Field) at 862-3674, meeser3@roadrunner.com.  You must participate in a field training session before an assignment will be made permanent.  If you are unable to join a group session, I will make arrangements to train you on your own section. Note: The mileages given for each section are the distances along the boundary lines on each side of the corridor that a corridor monitor would need to walk to cover that section. For assignments on State-owned land, there are no surveyed boundary lines and monitoring is generally done by walking along the A.T. and observing the surroundings.

Section 14. B Pond Road to East Branch of the Pleasant River.  This 7.6-mile section begins near Crawford Pond, passes over Little Boardman Mt., and skirts Mt. View Pond. The terrain varies from gentle to challenging with plenty of good views.  The boundary was surveyed in 1995.  Access is very good over the Jo-Mary road system from Route 11. (Under Temporary assignment)

Section 16/17. West Branch Ponds Road to the White Brook Trail.  This 6-mile section is a combination of the old sections 16 and 17 and involves climbing the boundaries along White Cap Mountain over some fairly rough terrain but beautiful country. Much of the boundary lines was renewed in 2016. The boundary was surveyed in 1994.

Section 18. White Brook Trail to Gulf Hagas Mountain.  This four-mile section was surveyed in 1994, but the lines are still in fairly good shape.  You can drive to within a 20-minute walk of the north side, east end of the section. The boundary was surveyed in 1994.

Section 20. Gulf Hagas Preserve. The Gulf Hagas Preserve was declared a U.S. Registered Natural Landmark in 1968. Access is good over the logging road network from either Greenville or Katahdin Iron Works, then over the A.T. or the Head of the Gulf Trail.  Some of the boundary terrain is rough, but this is a beautiful area to work in. The 3.8-mile boundary around the Preserve was surveyed in 1994. Almost all of the boundary was walked in 2015 and monuments identified.

Section 34. Horseshoe Canyon Lean-to to Marble Brook.  This 5.0-mile section has boundary lines along both sides of the West Branch of the Piscataquis River, but follows relatively gentle, lowland terrain through primarily hardwood forest.  It is accessible via logging roads at the southerly end. The boundary was surveyed in 1994 and renewed in 2015.

Section 35. Marble Brook to Outlet of Bald Mt. Pond. This 5.3-mile section has boundary lines along both sides of Bald Mt. Stream but follows relatively gentle, lowland terrain through primarily hardwood forest. It is accessible via logging roads at the southerly end. The boundary was surveyed in 1994 and renewed in 2015.

Section 36a. Outlet of Bald Mt. Pond to just East of the North Peaks Trail.  This is an exciting but remote assignment that crosses spectacular terrain up Moxie Bald Mt.  Most of the land is in National Park Service ownership, but the section also crosses the Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands Bald Mt. Pond Unit.  The NPS land was surveyed in 1997, but most of the boundary has been re-cleared and re-blazed by the abutting landowner during the past couple of years. Covers 2.8 miles of NPS boundary line.

Section 36b. Just East of the North Peaks Trail to just West of the Moxie Bald Bypass Trail. This 5.3-mile section covers very interesting terrain, including the summit of Moxie Bald Mt. and the spectacular North Peaks area. The NPS land was surveyed in 1997, but most of the boundary has been re-cleared and re-blazed by the abutting landowner during the past couple of years. The best access is via the A.T. beginning at the “A.T. Road” on the west side of the mountain.

Section 36c. Just West of the Moxie Bald Bypass Trail to Moxie Pond at Joe’s Hole. This 5.5-mile section covers the west side of the mountain and crosses moderate terrain. I have walked all of this boundary and documented the monuments. All boundary lines were renewed by the abutter a few years ago. Excellent access from the Moxie Pond Road and from the “A.T. Road”, which passes close to the Bald Mt. Stream Lean-to.

Section 47. Bog Brook Road to Summit of Little Bigelow Mountain.  Most of this section is in the State-owned Bigelow Preserve and has no exterior corridor boundary lines to walk. However, it begins with 0.29 mile of NPS boundary lines and monuments in a complex area around private cabins near Flagstaff Lake.

Section 48/49. Little Bigelow to the West Peak of Bigelow. All of this section is in the Bigelow Preserve and has no exterior corridor boundary lines.

Section 50/51. West Peak of Bigelow to Bigelow Range Trail. All of this section is in the Bigelow Preserve and has no exterior corridor boundary lines. 

Section 58a. Orbeton Stream to summit of Saddleback Jr. This 8.3-mile section covers some very challenging terrain, but I have walked all of the boundary lines on both sides and documented most of the monuments. The lines were surveyed in 1998 and are fading. Spectacular scenery on good access to both ends of the assignment.

Section 58b. Summit of Saddleback Jr. to summit of Saddleback. This 5.3-mile section crosses challenging but spectacular terrain. Except for the north side of the big saddle, where no boundary lines were surveyed, I have walked all of the boundary lines and documented the monuments. You can’t beat the scenery on this assignment and the access is not bad.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a tract and what is the A.T. corridor?A tract is a unit of land that includes the Appalachian Trail within its boundary. One tract is connected to the next tract, and the next, and so on. The connected tracts define the A.T. corridor through Maine, from Katahdin to the Mahoosucs. The A.T. runs north-south inside the corridor boundary. Don’t assume the corridor is always 1,000 feet wide. Tracts vary in size and width. NPS, BSP, BPL and others own the A.T. corridor in Maine. The Maine Appalachian Trail Club looks after the corridor lands and the trail.

Are corridor monitoring sections and trail maintenance sections the same?

When the A.T. corridor was laid out across Maine, the tract and corridor sections did not coincide with trail maintenance sections. Some MATC designated corridor monitoring sections nearly coincide with trail maintenance sections, others don’t. This is why there are 70 corridor monitoring sections and 90 trail maintenance sections on the A.T. in Maine.

Is maintaining a section of trail the same as monitoring a section of corridor?

The two are very different jobs. Maintaining the A.T. is about assessing, planning and responding to conditions right on and immediately along the trail. The scope of trail maintenance is trail focused, period.

Monitoring is tract and corridor focused. Corridor monitors assess and respond to conditions beyond the immediate trail, all the way out to the boundary line of the corridor tract. It includes assessing activities that may be occurring just outside the corridor, or activities that may be intruding across the boundary line into the interior of the corridor.

Some examples are timber trespass, offroad vehicles, dumping, and other alterations of the tract from human activity. Changes in the natural environment from insects, disease, or forest fires can also be a part of the scope of corridor monitoring.

Can I be a corridor monitor, but not maintain a section of trail?

Certainly. While some trail maintainers also monitor the immediate corridor, others don’t. If corridor monitoring appeals to your interests, there are plenty of corridor monitoring sections along the A.T. in Maine that are available for your care and contribution.

Corridor Monitoring activity means contracting to:

  • Get off the trail with map and compass and go out across the tract.
  • Walk on out to the boundary lines of the corridor section.
  • Look for signs of intrusion into the corridor tract.
  • Walk the boundary lines more often when activity is occurring next door.
  • Report incidents and your annual activity in a timely fashion.
  • Revisit and check up when adjacent activities or corridor incidents occur.
  • Communicate with your A.T. District Overseer and Overseer of Lands

 

Who do I contact to become an MATC Corridor Monitor?

David Field
MATC Overseer of Lands
191 Emerson Mill Road
Hampden, Maine 04444
Email: meeser3@roadrunner.com

 

For more on corridor monitoring, Dave says to read this “great article on the work that ATC surveyor Sally Naser has been doing in northern New England with her tiny boundary maintenance crew.” The 929kb pdf file is from the latest issue of AT Journeys. It can be downloaded from the MATC site by using this url: Boundary Monitors Mahoosucs ATJ JanFeb2008.

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