The RAF has successfully completed a lease agreement that re-opens two airfields in Maine for public use, Ragmuff in Piscataquis County, and Estcourt in Aroostook County. The lease and management agreement was signed with landowner Fresh Timber, LLC and preserves these airfields through December 2025 with the option for a five-year renewal. “This furthers our good relationship with North Maine Woods. They love this idea of RAF taking lease responsibility, and I‘m optimistic there will be lease renewals,” RAF Maine Laision Andy Rowe said. He reminds users to review safety briefings, support NMW’s efforts to provide camping amenities, follow fire protocols, and use backcountry ethics.
Each airfield measures about 3,200 feet in length. Both lie within timbered, productive forest. The lease allows the RAF to maintain each airfield, aircraft parking areas, and windsocks, and manage encroaching vegetation in glideslope zones.
North Maine Woods, the nonprofit public-private partnership formed in the early 1970s, oversees and maintains recreational facilities in the area. You are invited to enjoy outdoor pursuits including hunting and fishing in this region that is also managed to support a large number of families engaged in the timber industry. If flying in, please purchase a nominal-cost pass for the privilege of recreating on this land.
Ragmuff has camping and picnic areas, and an outhouse. The west branch of the Penobscot is a mile and-a-half hike from the field, with a chance to catch brook trout and landlocked salmon. Locals say that Fall is the premier time to visit – colors turn and it becomes bug-free, and partridge and fishing seasons overlap. For information and the required safety briefing on Ragmuff, see the Airfield Guide
Watch for more details on Estcourt, and its addition to the Airfield Guide in the near future. To learn about Red Pine Grove airfield, also located in the North Maine Woods and managed by the RAF, visit this link.
“Andy Rowe and Steve Mason have developed a good partnership with North Maine Woods, and worked hard to reopen these two fields for the public to enjoy, fulfilling the RAF mission on the edge of the Canadian border,” said RAF President Bill McGlynn.
By Carmine Mowbray
Submitted August 31, 2023.