Northern Forest News Digest

The Center’s Northern Forest News Digest is a FREE weekly compendium of news about the Northern Forest and about national and international issues that affect the region. The Center’s staff scans more than 35 news sources—from local weekly newspapers to statewide dailies to the web—to deliver information about the forest industry, tourism, the environment, renewable energy, education, grant funding and events to keep you informed.

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Forestry & Industry

  • Maine agency to reassess $25 million bond for Thermogen startup - 04/15/14

    By: Whit Richardson
    A controversial $25 million bond the state planned to sell on behalf of a startup company that wants to launch a biomass fuel project in Millinocket is up in the air after the company announced a significant change in the project’s scope. A meeting on Thursday will determine if the state will continue its support of the project.
    Portland Press Herald

  • A maple bubble? How the syrup market works, and what it all might mean - 04/09/14

    By: Dave Sherwood
    After the leaves fall in October, the mountains that rise toward the Canadian border north of Jackman, Maine, begin to wear their maple like a fuzzy, gray wool blanket. Sugar and red maple are abundant here, but the trees grow mostly on high and inaccessible ridges. They’re often scraggly and malformed, with roots like bony fingers clinging to steep slopes and thin, rocky soil – a low-rent district compared to the deep, rich tills of the postcard-perfect Vermont countryside that’s more commonly associated with maple sugaring.
    Northern Woodlands

  • Cate Street must pay property taxes to get $25M loan guarantee for Millinocket pellet mill, FAME official says - 03/26/14

    By: Nick Sambides, Jr.
    The New Hampshire investment firm proposing to build a $140 million pellet mill in Millinocket must pay $3 million in delinquent property taxes in the region before state officials can issue a state loan guarantee critical to the project, officials said Thursday.
    Bangor Daily News

  • Cold and snow a boon for loggers - 03/24/14

    By: Steve Zind
    March’s long stretch of cold, snowy weather is not just a skier and snowmobiler’s delight; it’s a boon for loggers. The weather has extended the busiest time of year for many who work in the woods.
    Vermont Public Radio

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  • Maine's ‘best snowmobiling’ season in 20 years could stretch into May - 04/14/14

    By: Rachel Ohm
    Snowmobile conditions in central Maine are deteriorating as temperatures rise, but in some northern and western parts of the state, riders are optimistic that the season could stretch into May.
    Portland Press Herald

  • Wind farm owner OK with expanding ski slopes at Balsams if safety isn't an issue - 04/08/14

    By: Chris Jensen
    The company that owns the wind farm near the Balsams is open to reducing the buffer zone between its wind turbines and the slopes, a key to a developer’s plan to greatly expand the size of the ski resort. "As long as it is safe, we have no problems," Brookfield Renewable Power lawyer Harold Pachios said late Monday.
    New Hampshire Public Radio

  • LePage, state officials promote 5-year tourism plan - 03/19/14

    By: John Krinjak
    When people think of Maine, often times they think Vacationland...“The strategy for today for the success of tomorrow is to make sure we have a four-season, year-round vibrant economy driven by our tourism,” said Governor Paul LePage.
    WABI TV 5

  • Less than 100,000 Mainers hunt or fish every year - 03/07/14

    By: George Smith
    The report shocked me. As several of us looked it over, we agreed, the information couldn’t be right. So I asked Bill Swan, Director of Licensing for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, to step out into the hall and go over it with me. Turns out Bill's report was correct.
    Bangor Daily News

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Environment / Agriculture

  • Advocates flog new Lake Champlain clean-up plan - 04/01/14

    By: Peter Hirschfeld
    Gov. Peter Shumlin has unveiled an updated plan to clean up Lake Champlain. And administration officials say it’s the most ambitious proposal yet. But clean water advocates say the report will do little to head off an ecological disaster in the state’s largest body of water.
    Vermont Public Radio

  • Shumlin aide to replace Berry as Fish and Wildlife Commissioner - 03/24/14

    By: Peter Hirschfeld
    The Shumlin Administration announced an executive shake-up Monday that will see Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs Louis Porter replace outgoing Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife Pat Berry.
    Vermont Public Radio


  • A farewell to the Eastern Hemlock - 03/24/14

    By: Jane Lindholm and Sage Van Wing
    In the current issue of the nature writing magazine Orion, Robert Sullivan has an essay eulogizing the Eastern Hemlock. This tree is being decimated by the hemlock wooly adelgid, a tiny but massively destructive pest.
    Vermont Public Radio

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Renewable Energy / Energy Efficiency

  • Portland energy expo plans to promote pellet heat systems - 04/09/14

    By: Tux Turkel
    A conference touting the benefits of renewable energy opens Wednesday at the Cumberland County Civic Center, an opportunity being seized by advocates of Maine’s emerging pellet-fuel industry. In its first visit to Maine, the Northeast Biomass Heating Expo is expected to attract 400 professionals for tours of biomass heat installations, and to attend technical sessions and trade discussions.
    Portland Press Herald

  • Environmental group's report comes under fire after citing Bucksport mill as one of dozens of 'dirty' biomass plants - 04/06/14

    By: Bill Trotter
    In the wake of a report publicly released April 2 about biomass-burning power generators, some are criticizing the report and others are defending the use of biofuels as a comparatively “clean” and sustainable technology.
    Bangor Daily News


  • Study looks at wood pellets as potential source of jobs, energy savings - 04/05/14

    By: Chris Hubbuch
    The Coulee Region could save millions of dollars a year in energy costs, create more than a hundred jobs and slash carbon dioxide emissions by creating a market for wood pellet fuel, according to a new study.
    Lacrosse Tribune


  • Pellet mill keeps money in local economy - 04/01/14

    By: Pam Harnden
    The wood mill that once made this town known as the "Toothpick Capital of the World" is once again operating a fiber reduction process to create wood pellets. Those pellets provide jobs and keep fuel dollars in the local economy. 
    The Franklin Journal

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  • Liquid natural gas fuel stations proposed for Gorham and Groveton - 02/27/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Barbara Tetreault
    Northern Community Investment Corporation and Clear Energy will apply for a federal Economic Development Administration grant to develop liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel stations in Groveton and at the Gorham Paper and Tissue mill in Gorham.
    Berlin Daily Sun

  • High gas prices continue to hinder production at GPT - 02/24/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Barbara Tetreault
    High natural gas prices continue to hinder production at the Gorham Paper and Tissue mill but CEO Mike Cummings remains optimistic.
    Berlin Daily Sun

  • Proposed liquefied natural gas plant welcomed by Groveton residents - 02/12/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Barbara Tetreault
    A proposal to develop a $100 million liquefied natural gas production plant and a natural gas power plant that would create 84 jobs and pay $1.7 million annually in taxes received a warm reception from residents Tuesday night.
    Berlin Daily Sun

  • DOE Says It Will Reveal Alternate Northern Pass Routes - 02/05/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Chris Jensen
    Under pressure from New Hampshire’s congressional delegation, the U.S. Department of Energy says it will disclose which alternatives to the route favored by Northern Pass it plans to study. That is something opponents of the controversial project have been seeking.
    New Hampshire Public Radio

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  • Lyme disease: A big problem caused by a tiny tick - 05/09/13

    By: Jackie Farwell
    McDonald was one of more than a record-high 1,100 Maine residents diagnosed last year with Lyme disease. Public health officials are warning that the risk for Lyme has increased now that ticks have emerged for the season. A mild winter in 2011 led to a bumper crop of ticks that appeared early in the 2012 season.

    “We’ve seen increases every year for the last four or five years,” said Dr. Stephen Sears, state epidemiologist. “There’s no reason to suspect that we won’t potentially see more cases because it appears that Lyme’s moving into parts of the state where it was not as common before.”

    Lyme first appeared in the southern part of Maine, and has consistently spread north and Down East. Lyme disease in humans now shows up in every county in the state thanks to hungry deer ticks that feed mostly during the summer months.
    Bangor Daily News article

  • Can the North Country make nursing homes work? - 05/03/13

    New York
    By: Chris Knight
    Many nursing homes around the state are seeing big financial losses, and the situation is the same, if not worse, here in the North Country.

    That's sparked a dialogue in the last few months among the region's long-term care leaders about ways they can partner, share services or even consolidate under one organization. Leaders of at least eight to 10 of the region's nursing homes have been involved in these talks.

    Some long-term care advocates believe North Country nursing homes are at a tipping point.
    North Country Public Radio article

  • Lyme Disease - 04/25/13

    By: Jane Lindholm and Sage Van Wing
    In 2002 there were 37 cases of Lyme disease in Vermont. In 2011 there were over 500. Experts aren’t sure why the numbers are rising so drastically, but they do agree that the disease is serious.

    If you know you’ve been bitten by a deer tick, and you develop a rash, you have likely been infected with Lyme disease. A short course of antibiotics, administered quickly after an infection, has proven effective at treating the disease at that stage. After that, though, there is some disagreement as to how the disease should be identified and treated.
    Vermont Public Radio article

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Education / Arts / Entertainment

  • Sick of Snow? Use it to track some winter wildlife! - 03/06/14

    New Hampshire
    By: Logan Shannon and Sam Evans-Brown
    While it may be March, it’s still very much wintertime. If you’ve been cursing the snow and ice and desperately longing for spring, you’re not alone. But let’s look at the bright side - all that frozen water offers certain opportunities that just aren’t available in the spring. And I’m not talking about expensive and time consuming snow-sports, I’m talking about wildlife tracking.
    New Hampshire Public Radio

  • City will explore purchasing Northern Forest Heritage Park in arrangement with chamber - 12/18/13

    New Hampshire
    By: Barbara Tetreault
    Mark Belanger and Lucy Letarte of the chamber presented a proposal to the council at Monday's work session. The pair noted that the park's current owner, Tri-County Community Action Program, has stated it wants to sell the park because it does not fit TCCAP's mission. Belanger said the chamber does not the money to buy or staff the park. Nor can the chamber use its revenues to operate the park.
    Berlin Daily Sun

  • White Mountain National Forest hosts mobile museum - 12/01/13

    New Hampshire
    By: The Associated Press
    A mobile museum that explores the history of forest land in northern New England and New York is hunkering down for the winter in New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest. The museum, developed by the Northern Forest Center, is called "Ways of the Woods: People and the Land in the Northern Forest." It combines multi-media displays with educational kiosks, artifacts and children's activities to explain the changing relationships between people and the land across northern Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and New York.
    Wall Street Journal

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Community/Economic Development

  • Maine Senate kills controversial land sales bill - 04/08/14

    By: A.J. Higgins
    Lawmakers in Augusta have killed a bill backed by Republicans that would have give the Maine Legislature final say on federal parks and other federal projects involving land. Democrats opposed the measure, arguing that requiring legislative approval for conveying more than 40 acres to the federal government infringes on the rights of private landowners. The debate got personal at times, as both sides claimed the measure struck at the core definition of "Americanism."
    Maine Public Broadcasting Network

  • 'Tap of the Town' taps community spirit - 03/06/14

    By: Amy Chapman
    Although much of the maple syrup produced in New England today is made in commercial facilities that use modern methods to collect and boil the sap, maple sugaring time still evokes images of buckets hung on trees, horse-drawn sleighs, steam rolling from wood-fired evaporators, and friends and neighbors gathering for “sugaring-off” parties. A new local initiative called “Tap of the Town” aims to bring the community together to experience making maple syrup the old-fashioned way.
    Bethel Citizen

  • Inspired by Jay Peak, Mount Snow Looks to Court Foreign EB-5 Investors - 02/19/14

    By: Susan Keese
    Mount Snow has joined the growing list of Vermont businesses working to attract foreign capital with the prospect of permanent U.S. residency. The West Dover resort hopes to raise $52 million overseas through the EB-5 visa program.
    Vermont Public Radio

  • Fair Highlights Summer Outdoor Opportunities for North Country Youth - 01/24/14

    New Hampshire
    For some North Country youth, summer is clearing brush and building trails. Others spend a week paddling along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. A free week at summer camp is another option for those who qualify. North Country youth and their parents interested in learning about the outdoor opportunities for summer camps, outdoor programs, scholarships, internships, and seasonal employment in the region are encouraged to attend one of two North Country Youth Summer Opportunities and Seasonal Employment Fairs being held in the next two weeks.
    Berlin Daily Sun

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Funding / Grant Opportunities

  • Request for Proposals for rural communities facing design challenges - 03/12/14

    Citizens' Institute on Rural Design Issues has issued a request for proposals to rural communities facing design challenges - such as Main Street revitalization, how to manage and direct growth, design community-supportive transportation systems, preserve natural and historic landscapes and buildings, and provide adequate and affordable housing - who are interested in hosting a local workshop in 2014-2015. Successful applicants will receive a $7,000 stipend and in-kind professional design expertise and technical expertise valued at $35,000.

    Deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm
    Find the RFP and application guidelines at:

  • Local Grant Proposals Sought in Champlain Valley - 10/23/13

    Champlain Valley
    The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) is seeking proposals for local grants to support the implementation of the long term management plan for Lake Champlain, Opportunities for Action. The LCBP anticipates awarding about 50 local grants totaling $395,000 to a variety of projects form eduction, the environment, to the region’s heritage.
    Grant guidelines and applications for each category are found on the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s website. For further information about these grant opportunities or to obtain hard copies of the guides and applications, please contact the Lake Champlain Basin Program office, 54 West Shore Road, Grand Isle, VT 05458 or call at (802) 372-3213 or call (800) 468-5227.

    For further information about these grant opportunities or to obtain hard copies of the guides and applications, please contact the Lake Champlain Basin Program office, 54 West Shore Road, Grand Isle, VT 05458 or call at (802) 372-3213 or call (800) 468-5227. - See more at:
  • Department of Agriculture Community Development Initiative - 08/14/13

    This Notice announces the availability of $5,676,077 for competitive grant funds for the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program through the Rural Housing Service (RHS), an agency within the USDA Rural Development mission area herein referred to as the Agency.
    Link to Notice

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Network & Partner News

  • Willie Janeway: Restore Environmental Protection Fund - 03/20/14

    New York
    By: Willie Janeway
    It was gratifying to see the New York Times’s March 7 editorial page encouraging the Governor and Legislature to use a portion of this year’s surplus to restore environmental funding to the State Budget.
    The Adirondack Almanack

  • In This State: NorthWoods marks 25 years of sharing the natural world - 03/16/14

    By: Candace Page
    It would be hard to find a less likely place for a nonprofit environmental center than this stretch of cut-over forest in Vermont’s poorest, least populated corner. Yet here stands the NorthWoods Stewardship Center, a collection of log buildings in a 1,480-acre forest, where four home-grown environmental stewards share their knowledge and love of the land with their neighbors in three counties.
    VT Digger

  • Tribute to Ray Series - Carroll County economic study - 03/11/14

    The Center for Rural Partnerships of Plymouth State University has just released a study on Carroll County's economy as the second report of the Tribute-to-Ray Series. It examines long-term trends of the County's economy. Carroll County faces the most challenging demographic shifts among all ten counties in the state. Nonetheless, Carroll economy performed better than the state and national average in recent past, when measured by the growth of income and jobs.
    For the full report: Center for Rural Partnerships

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  • New Hampshire Biomass Boiler Operator's Workshop - 04/09/14

    When: April 24,2014 8:00am-1:30pm
    Where: Merrimack Valley High School, 105 Village St. Penacook, NH 03303
    Registration Required

  • Northern Woodlands Writers' Conference - 04/09/14

    What: An event of writing workshops, readings and presentation, a nature illustration workshop, and plenty of informal conversations over meals around the campfire. Sponsored by Trust for Public Land
    When: October 17-19, 2014
    Where: Hulbert Outdoor Center in Fairlee, VT
    For more informaton:

  • Wellborn Ecology Conference - 04/09/14

    What: a full day of inspiration, innovation, and interactivity. Learn what everyone who's anyone in place-based ecology education has been up to.
    When: Friday, November 14, 2014
    Where: Enfield Shaker Museum in Enfield, NH

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