Local hiker and outdoor writer, Doug Dunlap of Farmington, has set a goal of walking a total of 1,000 miles in Franklin County. This is an average of just under 143 miles per month for seven months. He will finish his journey on September 30, 2020. He has two purposes in mind, both are related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
The first is to encourage county residents and visitors alike to appreciate the magnificent forest, foothill, mountain, and waterway terrain in what he considers some of the most beautiful outdoor country in Eastern North America. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families and individuals have discovered walking to offer good exercise, long views, clean air, opportunity to see Maine wildlife – and a welcome break from stress. The new paddling season provides yet more opportunity to enjoy Franklin County outdoors.
The second is to call attention to the extraordinary efforts of United Way and United Way partner agencies to serve Franklin County’s most vulnerable residents during these difficult times. From parents of infants and toddlers, to our most senior citizens, and hundreds of people in between, United Way and partners have provided access to food, clothing, shelter, health, mental health, addiction, and domestic violence-related services; and links to support for those experiencing fear or isolation.
Doug welcomes donations to the United Way at a penny per mile ($10); 5 cents per mile ($50); ten cents per mile ($100); twenty-five cents per mile ($250), or donors can make an outright gift in any amount at uwtva.org/give or by mailing a check to United Way, PO Box 126, Farmington, ME 04938.
Follow Doug’s journey on our Facebook and Instagram pages and website. Postings will include towns, public lands, and points of interest visited, mileage, wildlife sightings and other nature observations.
Individuals, families, groups, businesses, and others are encouraged to paddle or walk their own walks and donate based upon their mileage. Those doing their own walking and paddling are encouraged to submit their progress and observations to the United Way of the Tri-Valley at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by posting to the event on the United Way’s Facebook page. The community wants to hear from you! (It is not necessary for donations to be gathered to participate – while contributions are welcome from participating families, do not have to seek pledges or donate.)
Photo credits: Copyright Doug Dunlap The high peaks of Franklin County from Cape Cod Hill, New Sharon; Falls on Wilson Stream from the Whistle Stop Trail, East Wilton, Daggett Rock, Phillips, one of the largest glacial erratic boulders in North America.
Doug is following all COVID-19 protective measures that apply at the time of a walk, including social distancing; hand washing; masking; remaining home if ill; and limiting group size. Independent walkers and paddlers are encouraged to do the same.