The state of Maine is 200 years old, representing the anniversary of its independence from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. July 26th, 2019 was the 200-year anniversary of the day when voters approved the state’s secession, and that independence became official on March 15th, 1820.
On July 30th, Governor Janet Mills kicked off a 15-month Bicentennial celebration with a helicopter tour that carried her to a variety of events in Presque Isle, Bangor, Portland and Augusta.
Naturally, as the Maine state tree, the beloved Eastern White Pine tree gets its due. Along with State Sen. Bill Diamond and Portland mayor Ethan Strimling, the Governor finished the ceremonial planting of the Tricentennial Pine Grove at Deering Oaks Park.
Other juvenile white pine trees were provided to participating communities to anchor new or existing public park areas, along with a commemorative Bicentennial marker. The tree planting honors Maine’s first 200 years and its next 100 years.
From the Fiddlehead Focus:
By 2120, those trees planted in 2020 would be about the same size as the trees first encountered by the first European settlers to Maine in the 17th century.
‘The eastern white pine is integral to the history of the state in so many ways,’ said [Maine State archivist Dave] Cheever. ‘We think this is a way to honor something so symbolic of Maine, and whoever is planting it can bring their own symbolism to it as well. And it’s an environmentally friendly thing to do. It never hurts to plant a tree.’
The Eastern White pine played a crucial role in the Revolutionary War and in Maine’s early history, and remains an integral part of its industry and identity. Learn more about its role as the state tree, its importance to the economy and the story of “The King’s Broad Arrow.”
Top photo via Ben McCanna/The Times Record