AUGUSTA — Gov. Janet Mills has agreed to lift capacity limits and requirements to physical distancing in an outdoor setting starting on May 24 in response to recent Centers for Disease Control guidance.
Operating for nearly 25 years, the Maine Woodland Owners has assisted landowners for decades.
“We help the family woodland owners,” said Executive Director Tom Doak.
“These are the people that own a few acres of land up to several hundred, and there are about 86,000 of the people in Maine and our job is to help them with any problem they have.”
Their goal is to increase landowner engagement and long-term woodland stewardship to ensure the health of Maine forests.
“Maine has the highest percent of private land out of any state in the country so, during the pandemic, many of the public lands were closed. We have never seen so many people on private land this past year,” he said.
Jennifer Hicks is the organization’s director of communications and outreach. She said the pandemic has led to numerous challenges for the Maine Woodland Owners.
“For past 12 months we’ve been doing what we’ve been calling a virtual forestry session and they have been well received, however, we have all been looking ahead until we can get back into the woods,” she said.
She said as a result of Mills’ decision to lift restrictions, the Maine Forest Owners will return to in-person operations this year “so with this announcement last week from the governor that she will lift all restrictions on outdoor public events, size-wise, distancing, and masking, we have felt really energized by that announcement,” she said.