For those of you "from away", we grow trees here. Aside from the big potato farms in Arookstook County, Maine isn't well known for growing crops. In this part of the state, people have backyard gardens and a few farmers grow vegetables for the local area. But we sure can grow trees! The forest products industry has fed families here for a very long time. Pulp trucks, log trucks and chip trucks* make up part of the traffic along Lincoln's Main Street. Some of the trucks are headed for the local paper mill, which employs several hundred workers. *Are you wondering what the difference is? Trees cut for sawlogs are larger and straighter than trees cut for pulpwood, for one thing. It's hard to saw boards from a small tree that's full of twists and turns! The chip trucks haul loads of wood that has been "chipped", or cut into small pieces. The chips are used for making paper. Lincoln's mill also uses sawdust that is a byproduct of sawmill operations.
Different species of trees are used for various purposes. Many of the sawlogs you'll see going through Lincoln are eastern white pine, a softwood species used for lumber. Some paper mills use softwood such as spruce and fir, and some use hardwood species like maple and birch in the papermaking process.
There are many sawmills in the area. Some produce boards and others make specialty items. Keeping all the mills supplied requires foresters, woodsworkers, truckers and people who keep all the machinery going. Our grandparents cut wood with an axe or a crosscut saw, used teams of horses to pull the trees out of the woods and floated the trees downriver to the mills. Today's woodsmen use chainsaws, skidders and a variety of large machines that cut the tree, strip off the branches and pile it on a truck.
90 percent of Maine's area is forested, more than any other state in the U.S. About 94 percent of that wooded land is privately owned. If you are not using a public road or trail, always ask the landowner's permission before crossing their land.
Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page to see a tree that's just a little bit different!
A truck loaded with pine sawlogs passes along Main St.
This truck carries a load of pulpwood through Lincoln.
If you would like to share some memories of the early days of the wood products industry in the Lincoln area, e-mail us!
Teams of horses provided the muscle to haul these logs. Photo courtesy of Ida Whitney.
Today logs are hauled out of the woods with skidders, such as the one shown above. (Photo by Mike Libby).
While walking in the woods, watch for pretty wildflowers along the way.
These folks are tapping the maples on their front lawn to make some tasty syrup. It takes a lot of maple sap to boil down for syrup. Sugar maples (acer saccharum) produce the sweetest sap, but other maple species can be tapped as well. If you've never tried real maple syrup, you're missing one of the finer things in life!
The Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) is common in the Lincoln area. The white pine is Maine's state tree. It usually towers over its neighbors. The tallest known white pine is in Morrill, ME, and measures over 125 feet tall.
The Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) is popular as a Christmas tree because of its attractive shape and wonderful fragrance. This species is also used to make paper, and is a favorite food for deer and many other wildlife species. It can grow to 80 feet or more. This handsome specimen is growing in our yard.
Red oak leaves with acorns attached. The red oak (Quercus rubra) is a hardwood species that provides food for many forest creatures.
The white birch (Betula papyrifera) is a lovely shade tree as well as a commerically valuable species. Their leaves turn bright yellow in the fall.
In due time, this black spruce (Picea mariana) seedling will grow to a height of 35 feet or more. This species produces high-quality pulp for paper-making. It likes boggy areas.
This little gray birch (Betula populifolia) shown above is growing on the stump of a white ash tree (Fraxinus americana)
Now, ordinarily the trees around here are harmless enough, but the one above appears to be eating a sign! Mike Whitney sent in this photo, and he says the tree is in Lincoln.
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