In the early 1950’s, through the generous donations of Leon Brooks and Frank Merrifield, 211 acres of land located on the Brownfield /Hiram town line was acquired by the Oxford County SWCD . The land had been burned over in the “Great Fire of 1947” that burned most of the forest land in south western Maine. Forty acres of the parcel was replanted with white and red pine and it has been carefully managed according to a forest management plan written in the 1990s. It is bordered by Tenmile River, a pristine free-flowing stream, on one side, and Round Pond, a freshwater marsh/pond, on the other side. The habitat diversity on the property is amazing for such a relatively small forested land tract. The OCSWCD has turned this parcel into an educational resource area to demonstrate wise forest management objectives.
Some of the objectives that are demonstrated at Tenmile River include: sustainable forestry, timber stand improvement, wildlife habitat improvement, special habitat protection, water resources protection, passive outdoor recreation opportunities. The district has enhanced access of the site to the public in a way that protects this very special natural resource area.
The definition of Sustainable Forestry is: The stewardship and use of forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfill, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions. In simpler terms, the concept can be described as the attainment of balance – balance between society’s increasing demands for forest products and benefits, and the preservation of forest health and diversity. This balance is critical to the survival of forests, and to the prosperity of forest-dependent communities. (Wikipedia)
Since 2010 the District has been creating and improving trails throughout the Demonstration forest and installing signage to help visitors understand and appreciate some of the unique aspects of this property. In 2017 the District received 2 additional donations of land; 20 acres from the Hiram Hill Trust and 97 acres from Robert Hughes, bringing the Demonstration Forest to about 328 acres. We received a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund to improve the new land with trails and signage, a footbridge and several viewing platforms. Below is a map of the project.
The District has created a network of trails through the Demonstration Forest and erected a kiosk just 50 yards off of Notch Rd. It is open to the school groups and the general public and is located at 600 Notch Rd. in Brownfield on the Hiram Town line.