The Tall Pines
By: Logan Johnson
Judy Holt-Richards and her husband Ron Richards manage a 130-acre tree farm in Corinna. They started with a 10-acre parcel that has been in Judy’s family for over 100 years. On that parcel sits a cabin that was built in 1932. When driving into the area where the cabin sits, you may not notice the natural wonder that towers above you.
The 10-acre parcel includes one of the last remaining old growth white pine stands in the state. For this reason, Ron and Judy have allowed University of Maine Professor Emeritus Bob Seymour and research scientist David Ray to study the stand’s seed production. According to Ray, the white pines and hemlocks in this stand are over 200 years old with the largest trees measuring over 40 inches in diameter. The average height is 132 feet, with the tallest reaching 147 feet.
The remaining 120 acres of the Tree Farm were purchased by Ron and Judy in 1989, after a heavy harvest. They purchased the property for additional space to recreate and as an added layer of protection for their cherished old growth forest. However, they do intend on harvesting timber on the 120-acre parcel when the time is right. In preparation for this, they planted 13,000 black spruce and have conducted pre-commercial thinnings according to their management plan.
When asked what their objective is in managing the property, Ron said: “[I want to] leave something nice and a legacy for my family; leave it better than I received it.” Judy added: “Any improvements to the parcel were always in line with [her parents] Ed and Mamie Holt’s love for The Pines!” When asked why he is a Tree Farmer, Ron replied, “I like the information and to keep [my] knowledge as current as possible.” His advice for landowners who may not be managing their woodlands is to “get a management plan so at least you have something in front of you.” Scientist David Ray added that the Tree Farm Program shows “[the public] the land isn’t abandoned.” Judy and Ron have been Tree Farmers since 1994 and are also Maine Woodland Owner Members. They visit the property frequently and are excited to pass it on to their family. They are also excited to note that their great grandson is the family’s 6th generation to enjoy the property.