Around the Region

AT Information Center dedicated during Monson Summerfest

By Mike Lange
Staff Writer
    MONSON — Anton “Tony” Larson of Dexter recalled his first job after graduating from Monson Academy in 1941. “I put up markers on the Appalachian Trail all summer,” said Larson, 91. “They’ve moved the trail around since then, but it’s still drawing a lot of people to the town. This is a great idea.”
    Larson joined about 30 others during Saturday’s official dedication of the AT Information Center in the former Monson Elementary School complex, one of the highlights of this year’s Summerfest.
    It was also the official “unveiling” of artist John Bozin’s full-size mural on one wall of the information center called “The Bridge.” The colorful landscape depicts the “bridge” between old growth and new clear-cutting. Bozin spent over 100 hours on the project, assisted by several volunteers from the community.

    Janet Sawyer, the business development director for the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, said that a small grant from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and L.L. Bean helped get the information center project off the ground, but the real impetus came from volunteers in the community. “I’d estimate that we have more than 500 volunteer hours in the Appalachian Trail Information Center so far,” said Sawyer.
    She specifically thanked Monson Town Manager Julie Anderson, Patty Harding, Amelia Trader, Dick Welch and Bruce Grant for their assistance in creating the center.
    “Julie (Anderson) has dedicated a lot of her time to this project, doing everything from painting the walls to managing our budget,” Sawyer said.
    The economic development director said that the AT center is “not just about the trail, but about the history and culture of Monson, a designated place on the AT. Our future plans include educational programs so that we may eventually grow into more space in this building.”
    Alix Rudzinski from U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ office read a congratulatory note from the Republican lawmaker, noting that the AT “has hosted thousands of hikers who want to enjoy our nation’s wealth of natural beauty and abundant wildlife. I am confident that Monson’s Information Center will be known for its hospitality to hikers and as a resting place during the final leg of their journey.”
    Mike Goshey of Eagan, Minn. was one of several hikers attending the ceremony, and said that the center is a welcome addition to the community. “When you’re coming out of the 100-Mile Wilderness, you want to share as much information as you can with other hikers,” said Eagan, who started his trek from Mount Katahdin. “This whole town is tremendous. The hospitality in Monson is amazing.”


SP-MonMemories-S-PO-30Observer photo/Mike Lange
    MONSON MEMORIES — Dot Dow and Tony Larson look over the Summerfest brochure during Saturday’s dedication of the Appalachian Trail Information Center.








Observer photo/Mike LangeSP-MonATDec-DC-PO-30
    AT CENTER DEDICATION — Alix Rudzinski, left, from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ office, reads a congratulatory letter at Saturday’s dedication of the Appalachian Trail Information Center in Monson. Also pictured is Janet Sawyer, the business development director for the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council.

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