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Page 46 35 The Seven Islands Family of Companies Seven Islands Land Company was founded in 1964 to manage timberlands owned by the Pingree family since 1841 seven generations. In 2004 sister company Orion Timberlands LLC was created to provide forestry consulting and management services to new clients. Additional affiliated companies - Maine Woods Company hardwood sawmill 1999 Portage Wood Products chipping facility 2006 and MooseWood Millworks floor- ing plant 2012 - now provide a fully integrated hardwood manufacturing complex in the Portage Ashland area all accessible by off-highway roads. Collectively the Seven Islands family of companies directly employs 140 people of which 125 work in the Ashland-Portage area. sides of the piece. From there pieces of flooring enter the end-matching line. The end-matcher mills the tongue and groove into each end of the narrow pieces of flooring. At this point flooring is usable but it goes through a rigorous grading process. Rejects are re-milled while other grades are packed into bundles of salable product. Flooring is sold in two types unfinished and prefinished. Flooring that will be sold as prefinished is sent to a finisher off- site that puts on a protective coating and stain if so desired. This amazing process completes the journey from growing a small sapling in the woods to a product that is an essential part of peoples homes. The Pingree familys 175 year stewardship of Maine timber lands coupled with a fully integrated hardwood manufacturing complex provides an outstanding opportunity to manage the Northern Maine hardwood resource thereby providing a multitude of products as well as jobs and environmental benefits. MooseWood Millworks exemplifies the work ethic of Northern Maine and the commitment of utilization in the Pingree family forest. One major component of this work is tracking hen grouse during the breeding season to understand how habitat affects the areas they use for nesting and brood rearing. With ruffed grouse we also want to better estimate harvest rates which is important for informing ruffed grouse harvest management in Maine. During the 2014 hunt- ing season we estimated that approximately 13 of our study populations were har- vested by hunters. If you happen to shoot a banded ruffed grouse please report the bird by calling the toll-free phone number printed on the band. Currently this work is focused on central and mid-coast Maine however we may expand to northern Maine in future years. In addition to the spruce and ruffed grouse research based on radio-telemetry MDIFW and UMaine are collaborating on a ruffed grouse drumming survey extending from the North Maine Woods west of Ashland south to Bowdoinham and as far east as Moose- horn National Wildlife Refuge. The goal of these surveys is to monitor ruffed grouse annual population trends by counting the number of drumming males heard during the breeding season along roadside survey routes. This work is supported by field ef- forts of MDIFW biologists UMaine faculty and students and dedicated volunteers. Re- sults from the first two years of the drumming survey show higher densities of ruffed grouse in the commercial forests of northern Maine as expected but we are also hear- ing a similar number of drumming males in a central Maine wildlife management area where grouse habitat management occurs through careful habitat management. This supports the general principle that ruffed grouse and other wildlife species that rely on of young forests can do well when a portion of the forest is managed for early suc- cessional forest cover. As forest stands outside of Maines commercial forests mature a component of these stands will need active forest management if we want wildlife that depend on young forests such as ruffed grouse and American woodcock to thrive. All three of these projects are intended to build on the historic knowledge of spruce and ruffed grouse in Maine by adding more contemporary updated information to our understanding of grouse biology in the state. This more current information on habi- tat use and factors contributing to grouse survival and harvest will be incorporated into the states grouse management program. Spruce and Ruffed Grouse Research Spruce grouse with radio transmitter photo by Erik Blomberg Lily pad trap used to capture ruffed grouse photo by Kelsey Sullivan MooseWood Millworks continued from page 32 continued from page 33