Hancock Lumber recently announced that their Hancock Land division has rejoined the American Tree Farm System (ATFS). Hancock Land remains one of the largest landowners in Western Maine—with 12,200 acres owned across Bridgton, Naples, Casco, and Poland. Membership into the ATFS is an important step for the company’s continued forest preservation and stewardship of its land.
Hancock Lumber began doing business in 1848 when its founders purchased a 400-acre timber stand in Casco, Maine and started a land and sawmill business. Today, eastern white pine (EWP) is the only species manufactured at their three sawmills in Bethel, Casco, and Pittsfield, Maine.
Because it takes 80-100 years to grow EWP tree to maturity, Hancock Lumber has only been through two harvest cycles since it began doing business over 172-years ago! Tree farming in Maine requires a long-term approach and vision, relying on selective harvesting to maintain healthy forests and natural regeneration to perpetuate growth and success of its eastern white pine trees. Hancock Land originally joined the ATFS in the late 1970s as the 203rd tree farm under the name MS Hancock Inc. when the company included just sawmill and timberland operations.
“Rejoining the American Tree Farm System aligns with our effort to sustainably managing our forest land,” commented Erin Plummer, Hancock’s Marketing + Communications Director. “It also gives us an opportunity to connect with professional foresters, meet other tree farm families, and access a network of educational and advocacy resources.”
Established in 1941, the ATFS is the oldest and largest sustainable woodland system in the United States. A program of the American Forest Foundation, the AFTS was founded on the concept that recognizing landowners who practiced good forest stewardship would encourage others to do the same – and the program quickly took root.
Today, the ATFS has grown to include members in all 50 states, helping to sustainably manage over 20.5 million acres of forestland through 74,000 family-owned forests nationwide with their signature green diamond signs boasting their 4 principles of wood, water, wildlife and recreation. Privately owned woodlands are vital to our country’s clean water, air, wildlife habitat, recreational activities, and producing jobs, wood, and paper products we all need.