Mass timber interior courtesy of David Sundberg Imagine going to work in a 4-, 5-, or 6-story office building that is made primarily of wood. No steel beams or concrete floors in sight. With the introduction of “mass timber”—an innovative suite of wood technologies—it’s now possible to build sturdy and attractive mid-rise office buildings with wood. 

The Center sees great opportunity for the region’s forest economy if architects and builders in the Northeast build 5- to 10-story buildings from wood, as Europe and other parts of the US are doing.

A mass timber building includes everything from the structural, load-bearing supports crafted from cross-laminated timber to the cellulose insulation, wood floors, and wall-paneling assemblies that complete a building.

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The Northern Forest Center made a bold investment in creating the Millinocket Housing Initiative last year. Millinocket, Maine—home to the once legendary Great Northern Paper Co mill—has lost nearly half its population since its peak, resulting in a depressed real estate market and neglected properties. The Center recognized that the lack of quality housing would be a significant roadblock to attracting entrepreneurs and new families drawn to the area.

As a regional innovation and investment partner focused on renewing the pride, purpose, and vitality of Northern Forest communities, the Center is proud to be part of Millinocket’s burgeoning resurgence. The town is capitalizing on its proximity to Baxter State Park, the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, and more than 4 million acres of forest, as well as growth expected due to revitalization of the former mill site.

Klementovich 20180803 JCK4183Members of the MTB Collaborative have been working hard this summer to increase the accessibility of trails and mountain biking infrastructure in their communities. Together, the six organizations manage nearly 200 miles of very fun, well-constructed trails within roughly two hours of each other, centered in northern New Hampshire and extending to adjacent parts of Vermont, Quebec, and Maine.

The Collaborative decided in August to support three new projects that will help form thriving community connections and benefit local businesses. The mini-grants come from a shared pool of funds administered by the Center.

Liz McKeil, ED of the Moosehead Marine MuseumAttendees of the Moosehead Lake region’s first-ever Community Destination Academy are buzzing with energy about their initial “destination development” projects. As a result of the program, at the end of August, a rebuilt lakeside boardwalk will be installed in the center of Greenville, and participants are working together to enhance the capacity of 10 local events to attract visitors to the region.  

The Northern Forest Center is working with its partners in the Maine Woods Consortium to bring this program to the Moosehead region. Additional partners include the Maine Office of Tourism, Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, and Destination Moosehead Lake. 

“I really see the community pulling together in a way that is heartening, and there’s a sense of optimism here that I haven’t seen in a long time,” said Liz McKeil, executive director of the Moosehead Marine Museum and one of the Academy’s attendees.