Coming in from the morning’s cold, DLLT’s Managing Forester Ernest Carle quietly shuffles into his office to check email before heading out “into the woods.” A life-long native of Princeton, ME, Ernest is a tall, gentle soul who has carefully stewarded the working woodlands of the Downeast Lakes region for most of his career. When discussing forest management and silvicultural practices, he maintains a pensive gaze, but an ebullient pitch in his voice, recognizing the importance of his professional passion on future generations.
In a typical day, Ernest has any number of tasks to tackle in the Downeast Lakes Community Forest. Whether inspecting timber harvests, marking boundaries, installing signage, maintaining forest roads, and everything in between, he has a lot of ground to cover. While most people working deep in the Maine woods are fueling up their pickup trucks and other 4×4 vehicles before a hard day’s work, Ernest maintains a very different mode of transportation.
Heading back outside, Ernest unplugs a long extension cord from his Zero DS® all-electric motorcycle, ready for another trip into the Community Forest. With a simple battery charge, this all-terrain bike handles everything from rough gravel roads to smooth pavement, travels up to 50 miles on a full charge, and can even hit speeds of 65 mph.
“But, I’m getting a bit too old to go that fast!” says the 65-year-old with a chuckle. “It’s a really nice bike, and it’s much smaller than my pickup, so I can get in and out of many tight spots in the forest.”
Turning the key to the “on” position, there is no audible sound except for a fall breeze in the village of Grand Lake Stream. As Ernest pulls his helmet on and squeezes the throttle, he glides away with ease through the parking lot, with only a gentle hum and spitting gravel beneath his two-wheeled chariot. Without a combustible engine, the Zero DS® steadily accelerates without any bucking from gear shifting.
“It’s a very smooth ride, and nice to have such a quiet way to visit the timber harvest,” says Carle. “Even with the helmet on, I’m able to see and hear much more of my surroundings.”
Ernest learned about the advances in electric motorcycle technology from a friend, and thought about the many benefits that a purchase could bring. Between saving money on gas, reducing his environmental impact, enjoying a quieter ride, and the convenience gained for forestry work, the choice was easy. In a profession where one is constantly looking 30, 50, or even 100 years into the future, foresters have an engrained understanding of their own environmental impact.
“I’ve drastically minimized my footprint, and maximized my fun!”
On your next trip into the Downeast Lakes Community Forest, if you see a gray-green motorcycle cruising by, be sure to give a wave…