13th Annual Trek a Success

Three hundred seventeen enthusiastic cyclists and hikers were treated to perfect fall weather as they participated in the 13th annual Loon Echo Trek held on Saturday, Sept. 21st at Shawnee Peak Ski Area in Bridgton to benefit Loon Echo Land Trust.

Conditions were ideal for the organization’s primary fundraising event of the year.  “It couldn’t have been a more perfect day for our Trek,” said Executive Director Carrie Walia. “We had light winds and partly sunny skies, and Pleasant Mountain is a fitting backdrop for this event.  We currently protect over 2,000 acres of land on Pleasant Mountain, land that hikers are enjoying today.  The Trek continues to be a great way for people to support land conservation in the Lake Region of Southern Maine.”

Two hundred forty-four people cycled in the Trek choosing between the 25, 50 or 100-mile routes through some of Maine’s most beautiful scenery.  Century riders had a challenging ride through Evans Notch with a 1,200 foot vertical descent on fresh pavement.  Cyclists raved about the spectacular course and loved riding on all the back roads where the traffic was minimal. They felt the volunteers were helpful and friendly, everything was very organized, and all enjoyed the post-trek barbeque, massages and Allagash, free to all trekkers.

Seventy-two people participated in either the 6.2 mile or the new 4.5 mile hike trek over Pleasant Mountain and Loon Echo’s conservation land.  Jon Evans, Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator for LELT and part of the final group of hikers was pleased with the turnout, the highest number of hikers to date.  Hikers were treated to three rest stops along the way, each stocked with goodies including the final stop where hikers indulged in whoopie pies on the peak of Shawnee.

A total of $77,000 was raised from the event, including entry fees, pledges raised by participants, and business sponsorship contributions.  Top individual fundraisers were Ken Smith who raised $3,875, Jill Rogers who raised 1,500, and John Keller who raised $1,030.  Their prizes included a season pass to Shawnee Peak Ski Area, a weekend getaway at Migis Lodge, and a weekend stay at Cam Wigwam’s retreat on Bear Pond. Trekkers who raised at least $500 received a Loon Echo Trek cycling jersey and trekkers who raised at least $250 received a bag full of goodies including a Shawnee Peak day ski pass.

Loon Echo Land Trust protects land in the northern Sebago Lake region to conserve its natural resources and character for current and future generations.  Currently, Loon Echo protects over 5,000 acres of land with six preserves which are open for public use.

The Trek’s Platinum sponsors included Shawnee Peak Ski Area, 98.9 WCLZ, 93.5 WMWV and Magic 104 FM; Gold sponsors included Appalachian Mountain Club, Migis Lodge, and Norway Savings Bank; Silver sponsors included  About Time Graphics, Allagash Brewing Company, Amidon Appraisal Company, Bridgton Hospital, The Bridgton News, Camp Wigwam, Ernie’s Cycle Shop, Hannaford Supermarkets, HealthSource, and Yankee Amateur Radio Emergency Service; Bronze sponsors included Atayne, Cardinal Printing, Chalmers Insurance Agency, DLD, Grandy Oats, Krainin Real Estate, and Macdonald Motors.

The Trek’s other business and community supporters included Bethel Bicycle Club, Bridgton Police, Cabot Creamery, Lake Living Magazine, USFS – White Mountain National Forest, Wilkins Community Center, Saco Valley Fire Association, Sweden Selectmen, United Ambulance, Camp Wyonegonic, Five Fields Farm, and Road I.D.

The 14th Annual Loon Echo Trek is scheduled for Saturday, September 20, 2014, and will feature a new 75 mile course.  For information, visit http://www.loonechotrek.org or call 207-647-4352. Start training now!