Doctoral candidate’s research cited in Mount Desert Islander sweetgrass harvesting report

Mount Desert Islander reported on research being conducted by Suzanne Greenlaw, a doctoral candidate in the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine, in an article about Acadia National Park officials and members of Maine’s four Indian tribes exploring the possibility of allowing basket makers to harvest sweetgrass in salt marshes within the park. Accessing sweetgrass stands can be not only difficult, but dangerous, said Greenlaw, a member of the Maliseet tribe who is working with Rebecca Cole-Will, Acadia’s chief of resource management, to explore the possibility of harvesting in Acadia. “People report that they’re no longer able to go to some places they’ve gone for generations,” she said. “These are all privately held lands. Ad if the landowner changes, the attitude might change and our access to that sweetgrass stand is no longer there. People have reported being threatened by landowners with dogs or a gun or being told they are ruining the sweetgrass population.” Greenlaw and Cole-Will are leading research to support an application to the NPS for permission to harvest sweetgrass in Acadia, according to the article. “Wabanaki people believe that the more you pick a sweetgrass stand, the healthier it is, the more it will come back,” said Greenlaw, whose research is intended to determine scientifically whether that is the case. Another aspect of the study aims to better understand and document the traditional harvesting of sweetgrass, the article states.