The snow was falling in warm wet pats as Downeast Lakes Land Trust Board Vice President, Lee Whitely led fourteen warmly-clad people into the Farm Cove Community Forest to tip for holiday wreaths.
Tipping is a long-held tradition in Grand Lake Stream and throughout Downeast Maine. Five years ago, DLLT started to renew and revitalize the tradition by creating an annual community event that helps to introduce new people to the activity and contributes to a vibrant community.
“This is a fairly unique and important industry in Washington County. Wreaths from this region go all over the country,” explained Whitely, as he passed around samples of spruce, balsam fir and hemlock. DLLT provides tipping permits to residents who gather tips either for personal use or for sale to one of the local wreath-making companies. This is often important seasonal employment for local people.
Well-instructed on the difference between spruce, hemlock and fir, the group broke up in convivial twos and threes and headed into the forest to gather the sweetly scented balsam fir branch tips.
While the tippers gathered several hundred pounds of balsam fir, the winter fun is just beginning at the Downeast Lakes Land Trust. The tips will be made into wreaths on Tuesday, December 3rd at 6 pm at the Grand Lake Stream Town Building. Everyone is welcome to an evening of wreath-making, cookies, hot chocolate and holiday music.