Construction of 5,400-acre military training site in Maine in full swing

A 5,400-acre military training site under construction in Penobscot County is expected to reduce travel time for Maine Army National Guard personnel.

“With continued developments, the Woodville Training Site will significantly improve the Maine Army National Guard’s ability to train soldiers to fulfill their federal mission by reducing the amount of unit travel to areas outside of the ‘State,’ Lt. Col. Shanon Cotta, who oversees Maine Army National Guard training sites, said in a news release.

“Essentially, less travel for exercise equals more training time for the individual soldier.”

With the new qualification standards, Maine units must frequently visit firing facilities at Fort Devens, Mass. ; Camp Ethan Allen, Vermont; and Gagetown, New Brunswick, among others.

The development was recently selected as the winner of the 2022 Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Natural Resource Conservation in the less than 10,000 acres facility award category, according to the release.

The Maine Army National Guard will compete as an Army nominee for the 2022 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards in the same category.

Canada lynx

Maine’s selection stems from significant efforts over the past two years to develop the training site while balancing the protection of more than 1,000 acres of wetlands and habitat for endangered species such as Atlantic salmon and Canada lynx.

“Extensive effort has gone into this incremental project to bring a state-of-the-art military training facility to Maine,” said Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham, Maine’s adjutant general.

The project began in 2013 with a requirement to acquire a significant acreage in T2R9 NWP Township, followed by additional land in the nearby town of Woodville.

Recent achievements include environmental assessment and land use permits, public forums, construction of a 25-meter small arms and light demolition range, work on a camp area the size of of a battalion and the replacement of 7 miles of old forest roads.

State assets

The organization used internal assets to promote financial stewardship and soldier training opportunities related to the project.

In lieu of military construction funding, the Maine National Guard used small-scale project funding as well as support, repair, and modernization funds. State Army engineers performed work as part of their annual training, providing relevant training opportunities for soldiers while continuously improving the training area.

“Recent annual training accomplishments have included roadwork and culvert placement, as well as the construction of four multi-purpose buildings,” said Cotta, who is also commanding officer of Brunswick-based 133rd Engineer Battalion. “We plan to construct four more buildings this summer.”

Extended range

The Maine Army National Guard intends to continue to develop the site to include more permanent infrastructure and to expand a newly constructed 25-meter range to a 1,500-meter range suitable for training to the new standards. of the Army.

“This is a critical need for our organization,” said Colonel Joshua Doscinski, director of operations. “The continued development of the Woodville training site, particularly the range complex, means better and more frequent access to quality training for our soldiers.”

The organization plans to maintain environmental discipline in the future.

“It’s important because we’re a grassroots organization,” Farnham said. “And just like our neighbors, we grew up enjoying Maine’s outdoors and its athletic and recreational traditions.

“So it is important to us that as we pursue this project, which is critically aligned with the readiness of our service members, that we do so with conservation in mind. We are committed to being good neighbors to the people and lands of Penobscot County. »

In addition to the economic impact created by the development, the facility may be used by active, reserve, and out-of-state National Guard units from all military branches, which could bring additional business to the Lincoln and Millinocket area.

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