Foot and Paddle: Cathedral Pines for all seasons

first_imgYellow Trail, Cathedral PinesAn April day in the Western Mountains is like a Forrest Gump box of chocolates. You never know what flavor you are going to get! A gardener in New Sharon could be planting peas this month; while people in Phillips are still making maple syrup; and north of Eustis, snowshoes or backcountry skis may be the order of the day for travel on foot.One of my favored spots in any season is Cathedral Pines in Eustis. Here a well-marked trail system offers a choice of routes over essentially level ground (a rarity in our mountain country) under the canopy of a 300-acre stand of towering red pine. Walk a half-mile, a mile, or even two or more, by choosing a route to your liking – hiking clockwise and then reverse, or trekking around the system a number of times.With April drawing near, the sky an electric blue, and the air comfortably cool, my wife and I head to Cathedral Pines for an afternoon hike. The trailhead is at the junction of Maine Highway 27, known as the Arnold Trail in this section, and the Eustis Ridge Road. This junction is 3.6 miles north of the Highways 16/27 intersection in Stratton Village by the Dead River Historical Society museum.Cross the bridge over the South Branch of the Dead River, and pass the turnout that offers a striking view east over Flagstaff Lake to the Bigelow Range. Actually, I rarely pass this viewpoint. I almost always turn in, step out of the truck, hang here for a time, take in the bold profile of Cranberry Peak, the Horns – North and South – West Peak, and Avery Peak.In the next mile, stands of pine, red and white, line the roadside, and the south edge of Cathedral Pines appears on the left. The Eustis Ridge Road and the Cathedral Pines trailhead are on the left, across from the entrance to the Cathedral Pines Campground on the right. A metal gate marks the beginning of the Blue Trail.Red pine canopy against blue skyThink of the system as a circle with a line running up the center and extending below and above the circle. The Blue Trail is that bisecting line. We walk 50’ to a junction: Yellow Trail to the left (south); Red Trail to the right (north). The Blue Trail continues in a straight line to a point where the Yellow and Red Trails meet near the farther edge of the circle.What trail surface do we have this day? Will this be a snowshoe hike? We find the pathways to be snow-covered, packed firm, but without ice. The Stratton-Eustis Corporation, which manages this tract, grooms the trails for snowshoe and ski travel in winter, and we have the benefit of their thoughtful trail work. Today’s conditions are just right for walking in our winter hiking shoes, without sinking. Back into the truck go the snowshoes we had hauled out at first, and we are underway.At the Blue, Red, and Yellow Trails intersection we opt for the Yellow Trail, turning left, hiking clockwise. I am struck immediately by the sheer height of 80’ pines, reddish-brown bark aglow in the afternoon sun. Long, long, shadows reach across glossy white snow. My eyes run to the canopy above – a rich, dark green. I throw my head back; follow the vertical rise of a near pine, to fix on the treetops. Sighting up a single tree, my field of view becomes all canopy and blue sky behind. Quite the sight!I bring my gaze back towards earth, but hold for a time on the bark of the red pine. For a good close-up inspection of the broad scales of the bark, I remove my gloves, run my bare hand over the roughness. It is a remarkable occasion, to be up close to such a sizeable living thing, far older than I am – and far, far taller. My imagination takes me to the day when a crew of tree planters placed this one pine and its neighbors in the sandy soil as seedlings, the decades that followed, the comings and goings of farmers, people of the woods, travelers heading for Canada and back, people who once lived in the former Flagstaff Village who may have stopped here.Onward! We make our way readily over the packed surface, walking in silence, the light crunch of boots on snow, the slightest of breezes the only sound. Trail designers have been thoughtful to lay out a route that meanders ever so slightly among the pines, breaking up the line of sight, inviting pause, reflection, and not being in too much of a hurry.Our Yellow Trail arcs westward, then northward in a 0.5 mile semicircular route to reach a second, upper, junction with the Blue Trail. Here, in the heart of the stand, a sign welcomes visitor to Cathedral Pines. There are no other people in sight. We have the heart of the pine stand to ourselves.Here and there a few balsam fir poke above the snow, the exception to the vast, nearly exclusive, stand of red pine. Seed cones for the fir have likely been carried here on prevailing northwest winds, out of the nearby mixed growth forest that grows in that direction. A few of these reach to a height of 10-12’, diminutive beside the 80‘ pines.We could turn right (east) on the Blue Trail to return to the trailhead and our truck, but we wish to explore much more of the trail system. Straight ahead (north) the 0.5-mile Red Trail leads in a northern semicircle that will join the Blue Trail near the trailhead. We will take the Red Trail eventually, but choose now to head left (west) on an extension of the Blue Trail towards a backwoods bog. The trail leaves the red pine stand in 100’, enters a forest of balsam fir, white cedar, and paper birch, and nears the snow-covered wetland.Beneath our feet – well beneath, under the snow, the trail is a boardwalk. No sign of the boards on this snowbound day, but in warmer seasons, the walkway enables hikers to reach and cross the marsh – with all the viewing opportunities that offers. In summer we might expect red-winged blackbirds, and other birds that favor such a rich, edge environment, to show themselves.Today a few willows and alders, and an occasional cedar rise out of the snow, to break up what otherwise is open, snow blanketed, bog. Tracks of deer and snowshoe hare run from adjacent woods back to the bog and back. I gain a partial glimpse to the southeast of the distant Bigelow Range. The sun brightens the snow cover on the bare summit ledge of each of the multiple peaks.The Blue Trail continues across the marsh to enter woods on the far side, but we turn around here on the boardwalk section, soon reach the Cathedral Pines sign at the trail junction, and head left (north) on the Red Trail, More high pine, more quiet, more display of rich afternoon light to savor as we walk the Red semicircle to return to our starting point. On some days I reverse course, re-hiking first the Red rail, and then the Yellow to spend yet more time in this peaceful setting. We have enjoyed a fine spring walk on the distance we have covered already, and choose to call it a day.Red pine is also known as Norway pine, which contributes to the misconception that this magnificent tree is an import from Scandinavia. However, that alternate name derives from stands of red pine in Oxford County, in the vicinity of Norway, Maine. Reaching heights of 80’ with diameter ranging from 1-2 ‘, red pine is truly an impressive tree. Cathedral Pines offers Franklin County residents and visitors a readily reached setting open to the public. Many thanks to the Stratton-Eustis Development Corporation for managing Cathedral Pines, and making this fine resource available for the public to enjoy.A red pine note: Maine’s champion red pine is in Franklin County, and accessible to the public Find it in the Webb Beach unit of Mt. Blue State Park, on the short footpath between the beach and the boat launch. I snowshoed there this winter to have a look. Look for it to the right of the south-leading path, about halfway between the beach and the launch.We have in Franklin County some of the most pristine and ruggedly beautiful landscape to be found anywhere in the Eastern USA. – right in our backyard. Spring has arrived, and with it a new season of opportunities to enjoy this landscape on foot. Make your own exploring plans for the days to come. I hope to see you on trail!Text and photos copyright Doug Dunlap 2021last_img read more

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USC Forward holds demonstration for accountability

first_img“I’d be more than happy to [help],” de León said. “I’ve always been a fighter for working families, all the time.” Karin, who lives in the city’s 9th Council District, said her landlord has tried to evict her four times in order to charge future tenants higher rent.   “With housing, it’s very sad the way everything is becoming,” Karin said. “As part of the 9th district, the owner of the house has tried to evict me four times … There is the risk that any minute he can do something like that and of course I would not like to end up on the street, especially like the people in Harbor Heights [and] Mid-City.” The coalition delivered a letter of the organization’s demands to President-elect Carol Folt’s office. In the letter, which was obtained by the Daily Trojan, the organization called for accessibility for low-income students, affordable housing, community benefits, campus safety and labor rights for faculty, staff and students. “We are aware that it may continue for the week,” Carlisle said. “The city of Los Angeles regulates that type of demonstration on public property, and thus far they have not created a problem for USC … We do drive by and monitor the situation, but should there become a problem, we would have LAPD’s labor relations bureau respond to arbitrate and mitigate any issues.” According to Department of Public Safety Assistant Chief David Carlisle, the SEIU secured a permit from the city of Los Angeles to create “Tent City” along Jefferson Boulevard. “USC, they’re a bad actor, they’re a bad neighbor,” said SEIU 721 chief-of-staff Gilda Valdez. “They don’t want to negotiate with us. In an institution that is one of the top institutions in the world, they create leaders, for them to teach them that they have no voice in their own employment, what kind of teaching is that?” “The tents are a symbol of the poverty that surrounds this campus,” Delgado said. “If you go three blocks in any direction, it’s the reality that our folks live with everyday, and the truth is that every time student housing goes up in and around the area landlords around the area see that they can charge $2,000 per unit and then look to evict the working folks that live in the area.” “When it comes to access to higher education, whether it’s a public institution like the University of California, the Cal State University system, or a private nonprofit independent academic and research university, like USC, access to those who are socioeconomically marginalized is critical,” de León said. “Our kids, and kids in poor neighborhoods, are just as smart as any other kids but they don’t have the same opportunity. So it’s an opportunity gap that exists and manifests.” ACCE co-director Joe Delgado is currently staying in one of the tents along Jefferson Boulevard to protest gentrification and evictions in the surrounding area caused by developments made by the University. Residents on Flower Drive and Exposition Boulevard have faced evictions as a result of expansions in student housing. Ebadi said she hopes the University will listen to the demands of the coalition and work to increase accountability among students and the community. USC Forward erected 10 tents along Jefferson Boulevard to protest gentrification, labor rights and University accountability. (Mia Speier/ Daily Trojan) Shany Ebadi, a junior majoring in political science who attended USC Forward’s press conference Saturday, said she has been working with the organization since last fall with a focus on the intersectionality of issues related to sexual assault and student safety. The coalition — a project of Service Employees International Union 721 — partnered with the Alliance of Californians for Community Evictions, Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, the LA Tenants Union and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Former California Senate Pro Tempore Kevin de León (left) listened to student, alumni and community members’ concerns regarding housing displacement and University accountability and transparency. (Andrea Klick/Daily Trojan) “It’s very hard for [our children] to dream to come to the University when the tuition is all the way to the moon and our salaries very low,” Karin said. “And I feel like we should do something to avoid that. We have great children, and they are as smart as anyone. We just don’t have the accessibility.”center_img “This is about power and control and greed for USC, and they’re not willing to share that with their students who supposedly they’re building to be leaders in this world,” Valdez said. “It has been a very difficult few years to be a Trojan,” the letter read. “As the incoming president, you have the opportunity to change the toxic culture and narrative surrounding our school — not through superficial house cleaning of bad actors, but through genuine, foundational and transformational changes to the way this university functions as both an educational institution and essential piece of the fabric of Southern California.” Karin also discussed the importance of USC reaching out to students in neighboring schools and promoting equal access to affordable higher education. USC Forward — a coalition of students, South Los Angeles residents and community leaders — began demonstrating along Jefferson Boulevard Saturday to demand accountability and transparency from the University. A member of ACCE who goes by “Karin” discussed the problem of rising rents and gentrification, which she attributes to the creation of USC Village and the rising cost of student housing in the neighborhood. De León said USC must work with community leaders and local high school students to ensure equal access to resources. During Sunday’s demonstration, organizers held a listening session for attendees to voice their grievances with the University. Former California Senate Pro Tempore Kevin de León sat down with attendees to discuss the importance of community engagement and commitment. He said that local residents are being pushed out of their homes by companies that want to create more opportunities for off-campus student housing options, so they can charge higher rates. Organizers set up “Tent City,” a group of 10 tents representing homelessness and the impact of gentrification in the surrounding community, outside of the University Park Campus gates. Amid the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which brought thousands of people to campus throughout the weekend, demonstrators began camping out 24/7 on Saturday. They plan to continue the demonstration throughout the week. “USC defends the principle that tenured and untenured faculty are partners in shared governance,” outgoing Provost Michael Quick wrote in a statement to the Daily Trojan following the court’s decision in March. “The recent court decision affirms that principle.” Valdez said that USC could find a way to create shared governance within a union, but it does not want to relinquish its control over faculty decisions and issues. “We came to emphasize the importance of intersectionality of all the issues that are affecting both students and the community,” Ebadi said. “The racism, the sexism, the classicism is all tied into one another, and as you saw with the list of demands today, they are really all connected and you can’t target them one at a time.” Valdez said that SEIU has tried working and meeting with USC for over three years to create labor unions for University faculty; however, the school refused to budge. In a recent case involving full- and part-time non-tenure track faculty at the Roski School of Art and Design, the U.S. Court of Appeals disagreed with some of the language used in past court rulings on labor unions at universities and made it easier for employees to be considered managers who would be ineligible to unionize. “They are sleeping on the streets for five nights to ensure that their message is being heard and demanding the administration to be held accountable and listen to these stories,” Ebadi said.last_img read more

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