News Archive

Pleasant Mountain Trails Open

Pleasant Mountain trails are open effective 5/22/2020. Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time. Please follow the guidelines posted below to keep yourself and others safe and healthy.

We have heard from so many people who love and value access to Pleasant Mountain. Pleasant Mountain receives over 20,000 hiker visits a year. It is the tallest mountain in southern Maine and one of the most popular hikes in the State. 

Pleasant Mountain Preserve was conserved in the mid 2000’s thanks to the support of hundreds of individual donors, businesses, and foundations. The maintenance of Pleasant Mountain Preserve (including property tax payments to support local municipalities) and the mountain’s 10-mile trail network costs LELT over $20,000 a year. Taxes, maintenance of the trails and parking areas (including winter snow-plowing) is traditionally funded through the generosity of LELT members and supported by many volunteers. As more people fall in love with Pleasant Mountain, the costs to maintain the trails increases, and we need more support to continue to provide safe public access on the mountain. If you love Pleasant Mountain, please consider making a donation to support its stewardship today. You may donate online or at a trailhead. Thank you.

Over the last two months Pleasant Mountain has been vandalized. LELT stewardship staff have replaced signage and are working to remove graffiti along the trail and summit. Public access is maintained through the generosity of two private landowners and LELT. Please do your part to maintain public access to Pleasant Mountain by respecting all landowner guidelines.

Thank you for choosing to recreate responsibly and helping keep yourself and others safe and healthy.

Guidelines For Use:

  • If the parking lot is full, please do not park along the road out of respect for our neighbors and the safety of other motorists. Have a plan B destination or come back at a different time. 
  • Do not use the trails if you are feeling unwell or have traveled recently.
  • Maintain physical distance from others along the trail and in parking areas.
  • Dogs must remain on a leash.
  • Please pack out all waste and dog poop.
  • Be prepared. Make sure you have a first aid kit and adequate water, snacks and footwear.
  • Stay within your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to turn around!

Get outside, but do it safely.

As summer weather is fast approaching, Maine’s conservation and recreation communities, natural resource agencies, and outdoor brands developed the following checklists to help us all enjoy Maine’s outdoors in ways that are safe and responsible during this difficult time.

Find the Right Time and Place

  • Know Whats Available: Consider visiting a nearby Wildlife Management Area, or a less-trafficked state parkpublic land, or local land trust (Maine Trail Finder is a great resource!)
  • Check before you go: While some popular conservation lands have closed recently due to overuse and crowding, the vast majority remains open to the public. Visit websites to see the latest information on closures or conditions. Please respect all property closures.
  • Have a plan B: If the parking lot is full, the destination is too crowded. If your first destination has a busy parking lot, go to the next spot on your list!
  • Avoid peak times: Get out earlier or later in the day.

Be Prepared Before Heading Out

  • Expect limited services: Facilities like public restrooms could be closed, so plan accordingly.
  • Dress for success: Be aware of current conditions and bring appropriate gear to match those conditions. Local outdoor brands are open for online sales and are available to give advice on appropriate gear and equipment.
  • Support local businesses: Many local businesses from restaurants and retailers to guides and lodges are working hard to provide services in ways that are safe and in keeping with public health rules and guidance. If you’re comfortable, consider finding ways to support them while you’re enjoying the outdoors.
  • Don’t take risks: Stick to familiar terrain and avoid unnecessary chances to avoid injuries, which add stress on first responders and medical resources.
  • Be aware of the rules: Check before you go to see what activities are allowed. If dogs are permitted remember to bring a leash and to properly dispose of waste.
  • Watch out for ticks and biting insects: Wear light-colored pants, closed-toe shoes, and apply EPA-approved bug repellent.
  • Leave home prepared with sanitizer and disinfectant.

Heed All COVID-19 Health Warnings

  • Practice social distancing: Stay at least six feet away from other people who do not live in your household. If necessary, step aside when passing other people on the trail.
  • Don’t linger: Shorten your stay when visiting natural stopping points such as waterfalls, summits, and viewpoints so everyone can enjoy them while maintaining a safe distance.
  • Bring a mask: When you’re in the vicinity of others, even with six feet of separation, a mask will help keep everyone safer.
  • Don’t touch: Avoid touching signs, kiosks, buildings, and benches to minimize the potential spread of the virus.
  • If you’re sick, stay home: It puts others at risk when you leave home while exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19, or if you have recently been exposed to the virus.

If we all follow these guidelines and put public health first, we can enjoy Maine’s natural resources in safe and responsible ways as we work through this difficult time together.

LELT’s COVID-19 Resource & Statement Archive

Tick Season

Unfortunately, tick season is not cancelled this year. Please take precautions when spending time on the land to prevent against tick bites. Find out more about how to prevent tick bites.

Resources

Volunteer Opportunity

The Maine Forest Tick Survey is a collaboration between The University of Maine and volunteer landowners in southern and coastal Maine. Volunteers will collect ticks from their wooded properties this July 2020, and UMaine will identify and test them for pathogens. Volunteers need to own between 10 and 1,000 acres of wooded land and live in one of the following counties: Androscoggin, Cumberland, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, York. For more information, and to sign up, please visit: umaine.edu/ForestTickSurvey.

We will be selecting two LELT properties to submit to the project. Please contact Maggie if you are interested in volunteering to survey a LELT property.

Learning Opportunity

TICK TALK FOR TEENS: HOW TO SAFELY ENJOY THE OUTDOORS AND AVOID TICKS
TUESDAY, MAY 19 AT 1:00 PM
Register here
Hosted by Teens to Trails

A presentation followed by questions and answers about ticks and the diseases they may carry, with two people from the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough, ME. Chuck Lubelczyk and Molly Meagher will combine facts & humor to share how to avoid being bitten by ticks while on the trails and what to look for in ‘tick country.’

Chuck and Molly will also talk about keeping pets safe, both around your home and while out in the woods. With funny examples of what not to do, we will cover what to wear to avoid tick bites, the proper precautions to take before heading out, and what to do if you find a tick on yourself or your pet. Preferred registration for teenagers and outing club members, but all outdoor enthusiasts are welcome! Brought to you by Teens to Trails, we believe Life Happens Outside! To register go to Teens to Trails Special Events.and click on the register here button.

#GivingTuesdayNow

THANK YOU!

Update 5/6/2020: Thank you to everyone who gave and acted on behalf of the earth and their community yesterday! The trees and trails thank you, too.

We are joining non-profits around the world in celebrating #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving back to in response to these tough times. We invite you to participate in this day of giving through a donation to LELT, or an action to make the earth a bit brighter.

LELT is grateful to be part of a community that cares about protecting the environment and values access to the outdoors. We give back by conserving and caring for the lands and special places you know and love.

Together, and because of your support, we are protecting over 8,000 acres and maintaining over 32 miles of trails. By protecting nature, we are helping to create a healthy future for all.

We know times are tough, and we are as committed as ever to keep our local economy ticking through contracting and buying local.

May we continue to work together to keep our earth and communities resilient. Every bit helps, and we thank you.

Your gift supports

  • Outdoor recreation in the Lake Region
  • Public access
  • Clean water in the Sebago Lake watershed for drinking & recreation
  • Important wildlife habitat
  • More conservation of forests and wetlands to keep our earth resilient

Action

We know times are tough right now, so if you’re unable to donate this #GivingTuesday, consider action.

  • Give back to the earth with a bit of trash clean-up. Take to the roads or trails near your home with bright clothing, gloves and a garbage bag. Take a photo of all the trash you collected  and send it to us so we can celebrate your efforts!
  • Give a shout out to your favorite conserved lands or trail on social media. Tag LELT – it helps!

Hacker’s Hill Gate Open

The gate to Hacker’s Hill Preserve will be open to vehicle traffic beginning May 1st on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays from 8 am – Sunset. The gate is closed on Tuesdays, Thursdays, July 4th, and inclement weather days.

A few use guidelines for visitors:

  • All dogs must be kept on a leash.
  • The bathroom remains closed to protect the health & safety of visitors and our volunteer caretaker.
  • Leave No Trace: there is no trash service at the preserve. Please carry out what you bring in.
  • All motorized vehicles must remain on gravel & paved surfaces.
  • Do not disturb wildlife and plant-life
  • No camping or nighttime use

We will be monitoring use and make any changes as necessary. Hacker’s Hill is beloved by many and protected for all time. Thanks for helping us keep it open & beautiful for generations to come.

Earth Day 2020

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. While LELT’s in-person Earth Day events are cancelled, there’s good news: you can celebrate from anywhere! The celebration of Earth Day has inspired people around the world to protect our planet and build meaningful connections with nature. We can all take actions to ensure that our earth is resilient and beautiful for future generations.

Here are a few things you can do:

1. Go for a walk with gloves and a bag & pick up any trash you see. Be sure to wear a bright color or a safety vest, and be mindful of sharp objects. Safety first, always!

2. Spend time outdoors (low, local, with physical distance). Share your experience with your friends on social media. Tag the land trust or land steward that helps you access your special place.
**Not able to get outside right now? No problem! Share your favorite view from a past adventure on social media.

3. Survey and remove invasive plants from your property.

4. Learn something new about the nature nearby.

5. Be a champion of the natural world with a donation to LELT, or give a gift membership to a friend.

Share your Earth Day celebration!

Tag LELT in your photos and posts on Facebook (Loon Echo Land Trust), Instagram (@loonecholandtrust) and Twitter (@loonechoLT)! #earthday2020

Pleasant Mountain Trails Temporarily Closed

For the most up-to-date information regarding our response to COVID-19, click here.

** Please note: Pleasant Mountain Preserve is not a Maine State Park. This land is privately owned.

Statement from LELT

At the request of local first responders, all Pleasant Mountain trails are closed effective today, April 2, 2020 until further notice.

Please understand the care that went into this decision. The capacity of our rural healthcare system and the health and safety of first responders are our utmost priority.

We recognize and appreciate the importance of time outdoors for mental and physical well-being. LELT’s 11 other preserves and 20 miles of trail remain open at this time. We encourage you to find respite & relief in nature – be it in your own backyard, on a walk around your neighborhood, or on an easy trail close to your home.

It is critical that all individuals and families who head outdoors follow guidance from Maine conservation & natural resource officials:

  • Find the right time and place
  • Be prepared before heading out
  • Heed all COVID-19 health warnings.

Please follow all LELT posted use guidelines when visiting LELT preserves.

These are uncertain and confusing times. We appreciate your patience, understanding, and cooperation as we navigate these uncharted waters together. Conservation is forever. The trees, trails, mountains, and special places we all know and love will be there for us on the other side.

Stay safe & be well. 🌲

Statement from Denmark Fire Department

It was not an easy decision for our Department to recommend to the staff at Loon Echo to close the Pleasant Mountain Trails. Three of the four trail heads for Pleasant Mountain are located in Denmark, as is most of the trail system.

Even the most prepared, experienced hiker can have an accident while hiking, not to mention the hikers who are not prepared. Many of the Pleasant Mountain trails still have considerable ice, along with mud conditions.

There was a rescue on Pleasant Mountain Sunday, March 22nd that required nine volunteer fire/rescue departments and State agencies with over 60 rescuers. This was the fourth rescue call on Pleasant Mountain in the last year.

Our First Responders are already stretched thin dealing with the pandemic. This type of backcountry rescue requires a large number of personnel to work closely with each other and the public. The topography of the Pleasant Mountain trails preclude the use of off-road vehicles to transport a patient. The patient must be carried out by hand on a stretcher with multiple teams of eight people taking turns.

Please consider walks in your neighborhood rather than driving to the mountains (even small ones) until we all can get through this pandemic. We greatly appreciate your cooperation in following the recommendations of the Loon Echo Land Trust. Enjoy a walk through your neighborhood or utilize one of the many other preserves that are not nearly as remote as Pleasant Mountain.

Social Distancing on the Trails

For the most up-to-date information, please visit our COVID-19 update page.

In this time of great uncertainty, heading outdoors to local preserves and trails is a great way to reduce stress levels and stay healthy. If you want to get outside, your first choice should be to stay close to home.

Outdoor adventures need to be safe. The emergency response community, including Maine Forest Rangers and IF&W Wardens, has its hands full. Accidents on the trail and in the woods create unnecessary strain on our first-responders.

We ask all trail users & preserve visitors to adhere to the following guidelines when visiting LELT preserves and trails:

  • If the parking lot is full, the trail is full. Have a plan B and C. Consider waiting or seeking another place to be outdoors. Visit www.mainetrailfinder.com or click here for a full list of places we protect.
  • Do not use the trails if you have symptoms, have traveled recently, or have been exposed to a known or suspected case of COVID-19. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, bring hand sanitizer.
  • Stay six feet away from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk or hike.
  • Warn other trail users of your presence and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times.
  • Be prepared. Trail conditions vary wildly from preserve to preserve and from parking lot to summit. Wear or carry traction and poles if you have them, always have adequate water, snacks, and layers.
  • Stay within your comfort zone- don’t be afraid to turn around. Stick to easy trails to avoid injury and further stress on the local healthcare system.
  • Keep dogs on the leash. This will prevent inadvertent close contact with others.
  • Practice Leave No Trace. Carry in, carry out. There is no trash service at any of our preserves.

Preserves Conducive to Maintaining Physical Distance

** If the parking lot is full, please do not visit the preserve. Have a plan B or come back at a different time.

Resources

Updated 4/29/2020

Update Regarding COVID-19

We have several updates & resources to share with you regarding LELT’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Getting in Touch

Our office is closed to the public for the foreseeable future. Staff are working remotely. Please email info@lelt.org for general inquiries, or contact an individual staff member via email with specific questions or concerns.

Events

We have canceled the following events:
– 3/20 Spring Sunrise Hike
– 4/6 Pondicherry Park Walk
– 4/18 AMC Earth Day Trail Work at Pleasant Mountain
* Other events cancellations will be posted on Facebook and our events page as the situation evolves.

Looking for trails?

We have added an easy-to-use page to make finding information about visiting our preserves with formal trail networks easier.

We have also placed a box of trail maps and our preserve booklets outside our office. Feel free to swing by and grab one. The box will be sanitized daily, but please take your own precautions before and after touching the box and its contents.

Another great resource to find places to go outdoors is Maine Trail Finder.

For Parents

We are working with our colleagues at the Maine Environmental Education Association and other land trusts to bring you materials & activities to help get your kids learning outdoors.

We’ll keep this page updated with ideas & resources to get your family outdoors (and learn something at the same time)!

Bored?

Read our latest newsletter or go back in the archives.

The work continues…

It might look a little different these days, but we are working diligently to prepare the trails for spring and advance new conservation projects that are in the works. Thanks for your support, we couldn’t do this work without you!

Be well and know the trees and trails are there for you.

Effective 3/18/20.

Statement on COVID-19 Outbreak

Posted 3/13/20. This may not reflect LELT’s current COVID-19 related policies and procedures.

Dear LELT community,

We are monitoring developments on the COVID-19 outbreak and taking the appropriate steps to support the health and safety of our employees and community.

Our trails and preserves will remain open to public access, free of charge, during this time. Please do consider using them as an escape, a respite, a place to rejuvenate mind, body, and spirit.

We will proceed with our planned schedule of March events, including our walk at Mayberry Hill Preserve this Sunday. Please stay home if you are not feeling well.

Finally, we hope you will continue to support your local businesses and non-profits as you are able to during this uncertain time. We are all interconnected, and the well-being of our community depends on your support.

Stay safe and healthy, friends! The trees and trails will be there for you. 🌲

Resources

Stay up-to-date on COVID-19 status in Maine.

All event updates will be posted on Facebook and our website.

Find a trail or preserve near you.