How Chesuncook Became the Maine State Soil
The effort to establish a Maine State Soil by legislative decree began many years ago as informal conversations among soil and other natural resource scientists in Maine. In 1994 a small group of individuals met in Orono to begin to discuss a formal effort to establish a Maine State Soil. The intent was to join an emerging national trend to identify state soils. The official state soil then serves as a talking point becoming a tool for educational purposes, to bolster public pride in our rich natural resource base in Maine, and to call attention to issues related to soil resources that may be critical to assure the quality of life we enjoy in Maine for many generations to come.
The group assembled in 1994 included representatives of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station, the Maine Association of Professional Soil Scientists, the Maine Department of Agriculture, the University of Maine, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (or Soil Conservation Service as it was called at the time), Maine Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and the private sector. What emerged was a survey that was distributed to practicing soil scientists and other soil and water conservation professionals throughout the state of Maine. The purpose of the survey was to determine (a) if there was interest and support in establishing a state soil for Maine, and (b) what soil type should be selected.
From these survey data, and numerous meetings and discussions, it was clear that there was wide support to establish a Maine State Soil. In addition, the Chesuncook soil series was supported by a strong majority of the participants in the survey process. The following key points summarize the rationale for this selection.
The establishment of The Chesuncook Soil Series as the Maine State Soil was signed into law on April 16, 1999 by then Governor Angus King Jr. and resides in Maine State Statute, Chapter 9, subchapter 1, section 222.
Pictured left to right, State Senator Mary Cathcart, Governor Angus King Jr., Professor Ivan Fernandez, State Representative Kassie Stevens.