A hiker from South Jersey had to be rescued from one of Maine’s highest mountains on Saturday afternoon.
The unidentified 29-year-old woman from Moorestown was medevaced off Pamola Peak in Baxter State Park when she fell ill while hiking with five other people, park officials said in a news release.
It took a park ranger 80 minutes to reach the group after a 911 call was placed at 11:57 a.m. The Maine Army National Guard Air Evac unit removed the woman at 4:20 p.m. and flew her to Millinocket Regional Hospital after it was determined she’d require further treatment.
Officials noted that had there been lower cloud cover or rainy weather, an evacuation by helicopter would not have been possible. Instead, transporting a patient from the 4,919 foot mountain to the nearest road would have required 30-40 people and would have taken 24-36 hours to complete, according to park officials.
Pamola Peak is about a mile away from Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine at 5,267 feet.
The more than 200,000 acre park is in the wilderness of north-central Maine and is roughly the same size as Middlesex County, New Jersey.
A big thank you to some friends of Mt-Katahdin.com for these recent photos of the mountain from various sites. Joey Austin and Keith Dionne snapped these photos in the last week and we have reprinted them here with their permission. Thanks again, guys!
Looks like some good ice fishing weather in Millinocket!
If you have some photos of Mount Katahdin that you would like to share with the world, please email them to us firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to our twitter feed at @MtKatahdin or our Facebook page. Thanks!
In 2000, Robbins Lumber put a conservation easement on the 20,767 acres surrounding Nicatous and West Lakes to protect the land forever. In addition, the state acquired 76 islands and 243 acres connecting to the Duck Lake Public Reserve Unit.
I told Roxanne Quimby about this project in 2011 at a meeting of the Maine Forest Products Council because I wanted her to know she had other options — options that would unite Mainers, not divide them. Her answer was, “There is no plan B. It is a national park or nothing. There are no other options.”
I oppose her park and national recreation area because she only owns 87,500 acres of the 150,000 acres she promises to donate. The other 63,500 acres are owned by many individual landowners — many of the parcels have been in these landowners’ families for generations. How would you like it if someone promised to give your land away? Threatened? You bet.
She has tried to win over the people of the Katahdin region with the prospect of jobs based on the theory that her park would attract 15 percent, or 375,000, of Acadia’s visitors each year, leading to the creation of 450 jobs. But her park would never attract six times as many visitors as Baxter State Park. Baxter has 200,000 acres, including Mt. Katahdin, compared to the proposed 150,000 acres of the national park. Baxter employs only 21 full-time and 40 part-time workers.
National parks and monuments are built in areas of spectacular beauty or historical significance. The proposed park is mostly cut-over timberland and has very little to attract tourists. The only exceptional beauty in the area already is included and protected in Baxter State Park. The park proponents always show pictures of Katahdin, which won’t be in the proposed park, in their videos and advertisements, which is very misleading to the public.
National parks don’t allow timber harvesting, so they soon become full of over-mature, insect-infested and diseased trees. A National Park Service publication on forest management in Yellowstone National Park states that large fires are mandatory in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in order to maintain it in a natural manner. Since the 1970s, park officials have allowed some 300 natural fires to burn themselves out. In recent decades, 1,250 square miles burned in Yellowstone, 402 square miles burned in Yosemite and many square miles burn virtually every year in Glacier National Park.
Have we already forgotten the devastating forest fires out West last summer? Do we want that policy to exist in our beautiful managed forests in Maine? I think not. Forest fires don’t respect boundary lines, so all lands surrounding the park will be threatened.
An average acre of woodland in Maine produces 0.35 cords of wood per year and is worth $1,280 with value added. Some 150,000 acres of forest should, therefore, produce 52,500 cords per year, which works out to an annual loss to the Maine GDP of more than $67 million. At a recent conference on Maine’s paper industry, speakers stated that one reason paper mills are having a hard time surviving is because of the high cost of wood. Taking the equivalent of six townships out of production certainly isn’t going to help. Even though the paper mills in the Millinocket region are gone, that wood is needed by other mills in the state, as Maine is still a net importer of wood.
Our family has operated a sawmill in Searsmont for five generations. I know we need to manage all of our productive woodlands wisely to supply wood products for the earth’s ever-growing population, which is expanding at a rate of 80 million people per year. The United States already has 266 million acres of national parks, wilderness areas and preserves where no wood can be cut. That’s about 13 times the size of the entire size of the state of Maine. How much more do we need?
If a national park is established, there will always be the danger of it expanding. Acadia National Park is constantly expanding and just recently added 1,400 acres on Schoodic Peninsula despite a 1986 law that the park service would never expand beyond then-agreed-upon boundaries.
I urge Quimby to establish a conservation easement such as Nicatous Lake. It would be available for recreation, it would remain in the tax base, wildlife and other resources would be protected and the wood would still be available. Everyone comes out a winner.
James L. Robbins is former president and owner of Robbins Lumber in Searsmont.
When Pennsylvania Police Captain Michael Yanchak of the Peters Township police department retires Jan. 6, the 33-year department veteran will be anything but idle.
He plans on hiking the Appalachian Trail, the 2,200-mile marked trail that stretches north from Mount Katahdin in northern Maine south to Springer Mountain in Georgia.
“Being able to walk through a piece of history intrigues me,” said Yanchak, 64.
Besides Maine and Georgia, the trail goes through parts of New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. It is also in close proximity to major battlefield sites such as Antietam and Gettysburg and Washington, D.C.
“The United States is very large and I have gotten to see it in bits and pieces,” said Yanchak, an avid hiker. “But, I feel like I’ve missed a lot.”
Yanchak has been busy prepping for the excursion at his Canonsburg home. For months, he has been dehydrating food, pouring over maps, reading and talking with people who have hiked the trail for tips. He said his wife Melody, their daughters, Meredith, 33, a theater teacher in Texas and Melissa, 35, a keyboardist in Arkansas, and their son Michael, 36, a one-man vocal band who lives in Pittsburgh, have been extremely supportive. In fact, Meredith plans on hiking with him in June, when she is on summer vacation.
“My kids have all back packed since they have been 4 or 5,” he said. “They have all been hounding me for my daily itinerary.”
Yanchak said he will begin his hike somewhere in southern New England in May and walk 15 to 20 miles a day. To prepare for his journey, Yanchak said he will begin taking progressively longer hikes with a 35-pound backpack to make sure he is in shape.
“Bears won’t bother me,” he said.
Besides fulfilling his goal, Yanchak said he views the upcoming trip, which should last six to 10 months, as cathartic. He said he doesn’t know whether he will miss police work, despite being a police officer half his life. He also doesn’t know whether he will go back to work, or remain retired.
“When I come off the trail, everything should be clearer,” he said.
Yanchak started out his law enforcement career as a state corrections officer in Montgomery County. After three years, he left that position and enlisted the military and became a military police officer. Following a three-year stint in the service, he returned to work as a corrections officer, but when an opening on the Peters Township police was posted, he applied and got the job. It also gave him an opportunity to return home to Western Pennsylvania.
“I believe we all have to give something back to society,” Yanchak said. “Me being a police officer is my way of giving back.”
Yanchak said he has been on a number of interesting calls over the years as a police officer, including one on a hot Memorial Day weekend several years ago. He was called to administer CPR on a man who was having a heart attack. Yanchak said he saved the man’s life. But a month later, the man shows up at the police department.
“He wanted to complain to the chief I broke his ribs,” said Yanchak, who was the only person in the station at the time. He said man did not recognize him. “I took his name and said I would leave a message for the chief and I did.”
Excerpt from “Transformed on the Trail” ~ By Jim T. Ryan
Here is an account from a hiker who completed his thru-hike on the AT. It is very well written and quite emotional. The story, that ends in Maine, of course, is accompanied by some great photos from many stops along the hike from Georgia to Maine. Read the excepts below and then click thru to the entire article, if you like. Feel free to leave a comment, below!
“The day is cold, yet the Maine sun beats down on your neck. You’ve been walking for hours, the last of it over and around boulders the size of dump trucks at times. The sweat beads down, running under the moss-like months of beard growth.
Six months of walking and so much landscape has passed underfoot, brushed past your face, torn at your clothes, bogged your socks and boots. You’re on your third pair of hiking shoes, the predecessors stripped of their usefulness by the mountains of Tennessee, shredded by the rocky remains of the last ice age in Pennsylvania.”
“You’re exhausted, yet you climb the peak in front of you. You can’t wait to be done with this meandering existence. But you dread its end. What next? Where do you go from here?
You just keep walking. There it is. Baxter Peak, the pinnacle of Mount Katahdin. You can see the sign. Adrenaline kicks in, and you begin sprinting the final football field only to stop to wait for the companions behind you. You made them a promise to finish together. You’ll keep it. You’ll finish the 2,186 miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT) together.”
“For anyone with a bit of wilderness in their blood, thru-hiking the AT is the first long-distance notch in the hiking stick. But finishing the trail is a remote accomplishment. Only about 20 percent of those who set out ever actually finish the hike in a single year. Many quit before they’re out of the first state.”
“My favorite area – the most beautiful area – is probably Tennessee. In Hampton, Tenn., there’s a stretch where you hike along a stream. It’s just absolutely beautiful. The trail is right next to the stream, and it’s flowing. You start at a waterfall. It was a place where I wish I just could’ve camped for a week,” Reardon says.
“He chokes-up with emotion, reliving the final day of his trek. Summitting Katahdin isn’t just a story. He relives it.”