ATV, snowmobile trails now benefit from company seeking to mine on Pickett Mountain

4 years ago

PATTEN, Maine — The trails system for Patten ATV and snowmobile clubs have improved since the clubs began working with Wolfden Resources, the Canadian owner and developer of Pickett Mountain. 


The mining company recently submitted an application to Maine Land Use Planning Commission to rezone a portion of the mountain from general management to planned development for its mining operations. As part of the process, an archeological study is expected to be done at the site this spring to determine if there are any historic relics that must be considered.

Jon Harvey, trailmaster for the Rockabema Snowmobile Club, said Wednesday that his club has had an “extremely positive” relationship with Wolfden Resources and the logging companies that work with the company to harvest timber from the property.

“We have never had any issues with Wolfden Resources,” Harvey said. “In fact, they have been more than accommodating. Anything we have talked with them about, they have gone out of their way to help.”

Wolfden Resources announced on Jan. 15 that it had secured up to $4.5 million in funding for its exploration projects by selling timber from Pickett Mountain. Under the terms of a five-year stumpage agreement with H.C Haynes of Winn, the company will receive $3 million in U.S. dollars upon closing, and an additional $1.5 million between the fourth and fifth anniversaries of the agreement.

Haynes has the right to harvest $5 million worth of timber from the property over a five-year period.

Trailmaster Harvey said the trails located closest to the mining project are Interconnected Trail System trails 81 and 85, as well as connector trails 62 and 30a. The snowmobile club did reroute one of its trails, but it was not because of any interference from the logging companies.

“It was because my snowmobilers would not do what they were supposed to do,” Harvey said. “Last year, they were doing some logging and we shared 2.5 miles of trails. I couldn’t get my snowmobilers to stay off the plowed roads and stay on the trails.”

For safety reasons, Harvey said the club had to move one of its trails to avoid any issues with logging trucks. One of Wolfden’s foresters even worked with the club to mark off the new trail.

“We still have the same access, but now we don’t have to interfere with the log trucks,” he said. “[The logging companies] do most of their work in the winter when the ground is frozen so we always have to be on the lookout.”

Dennis Brackett, trailmaster for Patten ATV Club, said Wednesday that he recently renegotiated a contract with Wolfden for sharing logging trails.

“[The mining project] made my trail system better,” Brackett said. “The former owner of the mountain never had any trails, and when Wolfden Resources bought it, we negotiated the creation of a trail for that area. Last year was the first year that we ever had a trail up that way.”

Occasionally the Patten ATV Club has to close off some of its trails for short periods of time based on the schedule of logging activities in the area. Brackett said his club works closely with those logging companies to ensure the safety of its riders.

“Last year went really well and this year, if [logging companies] are cutting more wood, we may have to stop [using] some of our trails,” Brackett said. “They have been very good and more than willing to work with us.”

Brackett added that Wolfden was not the only company the club deals with in terms of logging activities. He said there are several private landowners who also harvest timber in the greater Patten area, and all of them have an amicable relationship with the ATV club.

Wolfden described Pickett Mountain as having one of the highest grade undeveloped polymetallic massive sulphide mineral deposits in North America. It is located in the Northern Maine Volcanic Belt, three miles off U.S. Route 11 in the unorganized territory of Township 6, Range 6 in northern Penobscot County. Patten is the nearest town, located about 10 miles south.

Wolfden said between Maine’s new mining laws — enacted in the Maine Legislature in November 2017 — that clarify the permitting process to pursue mining of metallic minerals and the higher market prices, interest in the Pickett Mountain deposit was revived. 

Wolfden Resources acquired the Pickett Mountain lands in 2017 and later that year began drilling core samples aimed at confirming drilling tests from the late 1970s and early 1980s, when volcanic deposits of copper, lead, silver and gold were found by other companies who never pursued a mine.