Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust Makes Safety Improvements to Cupsuptic Campground

In 2006 the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust purchased a total of 110-acres of land on Cupsuptic Lake.  Included within this purchase is a 16-acre commercial campground known as the Cupsuptic Lake Park & Campground that has operated for many decades under a lease arrangement.

In 2011 the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust assumed management of the campground and since that time it has been managed by Heather and Randy Targett.  Through the use of public and private grant funding, the entire campground facilities have been either renovated or reconstructed providing an affordable world-class experience for guests.

Beginning in 2012 we experienced a number of trees going down during summer storm events that created a safety risk to our guests.  In fact in each of the past four years we have had a least one event where a tree went down through a tent or caused damage to a trailer. 

The property has a long history of being managed for timber and a majority of the trees on site are Norway Spruce that were planted plantation style approximately 50 years ago.  The age of the trees combined with soil compaction from recreational use of the site combined to create a high level of tree mortality.  In assessing the site, the high-risk area was identified as a half-acre portion of the campground used primarily for tent only camping that is exposed to the south/southeast where most of our weather events originate from in summer.

Prior to each of the past four camping seasons our stewardship crew and campground staff removed any trees that indicated they were dead, diseased or dying, however this was not enough. We subsequently consulted with two licensed foresters and two licensed arborists to obtain independent opinions on what we could do to improve safety.  The overall consensus was that removal of approximately 150 trees or most of the trees in the ½ acre area was the most prudent course of action. This removal would be followed by a replanting project.

The RLHT worked with staff at the Maine Land Use Planning Commission over a period of eight months to obtain permit approval and develop a plan for re-vegetating the site. The trees were removed in December 2016 and due to their advanced state of decay were processed as chips for biofuel.  This spring re-vegetation will include: grinding the tree stumps but preserving the root structures to stabilize soil; spreading soil on top of the existing root systems in heavily compacted soil; re-planting ~150 saplings that will be a mixture of three species and have heights of eight to ten feet; and planting shrubs along the western shoreline to stabilize a heavily eroded area.

These improvements will not only improve the safety conditions for guests at the campground, they will also allow for better management of foot and vehicle traffic reducing soil impacts and provide for much improved visual screening of the campground from the lake that the former tree species did not afford.