Loon Echo has completed two recreational access parking lots in the fall of 2016.
As of December 8th outdoor enthusiasts eager to enjoy Loon Echo Land Trust’s Raymond Community Forest have an official parking area at the preserve located in North Raymond. With a deadline prescribed by Mother Nature, Loon Echo staff, volunteers, and local contractor Khiel Excavation completed the parking lot on December 7th. The lot will accommodate 20 cars and is located on Conesca Road at the site of a former logging landing. Conesca road bisects the 356 acre preserve and will provide access to the newly built trails. Loon Echo constructed three trails this fall: one mile of multi-use trail at the base of Pismire Mountain, another trail that reaches the Pismire cliff in 0.7 miles and a third trail that circles the summit of the property. The public can enjoy using this parking lot year round as it will be plowed throughout the winter season.
The Raymond Community Forest is Loon Echo’s most recent preserve. The Bridgton based land trust purchased the property from Hancock Land Company this past June. Over 200 local individuals and families donated to the project. Hancock Land Company gifted approximately $109,000 in land value. The residents of Raymond voted on $56,800 towards the project. Grants were awarded by the Land for Maine’s Future Program (LMF), Portland Water District, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Davis Conservation Foundation, Camp Agawam, The Open Space Institute and an anonymous foundation.
Ledges Trail-head Parking Lot Completed
Until recently hikers wishing to ascend Loon Echo Land Trust’s Ledges Trail to the summit of Pleasant Mountain had to park along Mountain Road in Denmark. Upon hearing the need for a parking lot, North Rock Partners, represented by Bridgton resident Phil Libby, responded by donating 2.39 acres of land specifically to ease the problem. Upon receiving the deed to the property on November 2nd, Loon Echo immediately designed a parking lot and hired local contractor, Khiel Excavation, to do the construction.
The need for the new parking area arose due to the year-round popularity of the Ledges Trail on Pleasant Mountain. “Loon Echo recognized the safety concern that the lack of adequate off-road parking created with only a small pull off available,” said Thom Perkins, Executive Director of Loon Echo Land Trust, “ Now instead of a line of cars parked along Mountain Road 18-20 cars can be accommodated right at the trailhead.”
“We are happy to provide this recreational parking lot for the public at one of our most popular hiking trails at Pleasant Mountain Preserve,” said Jon Evans, Loon Echo’s Stewardship Manager. “This new parking area will be open year round and will be plowed throughout the upcoming winter season.” Khiel Excavation is donating plowing services for the parking lot this winter.
Loon Echo’s Ledges Trail is a popular hike year round for outdoor enthusiasts looking to summit the state’s iconic Pleasant Mountain. The Ledges Trail is 1.8 miles from trailhead to the summit of Pleasant Mountain with a 1.600 foot elevation gain. The new parking area is located at the at the site of the previous 4-car roadside parking pull off, approximately 3 miles from the intersection of Mountain Road and Route 302 in Bridgton.
“We would like to thank Phil Libby of North Rock Partners, Khiel Excavation and the Town of Denmark. With their help and support the project was completed ahead of schedule,“ said David Diller, Loon Echo Land Trust’s president.
Loon Echo Land Trust protects nearly 6,700 acres of land and manages 31 miles of multi-use trails in the northern Sebago Lake region. Its mission is to work with the local residents to conserve the region’s natural resources and character for current and future generations. Loon Echo serves seven towns including Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago with an area of 320 square miles located directly north of Sebago Lake. Loon Echo works within its service area to safeguard water quality, preserve scenic gems such as Bald Pate Mountain, and provide outreach and fun educational programs to the public. Loon Echo assists landowners to take steps to ensure future generations will benefit from the preservation of their lands. For information about membership, upcoming events or ways you can support Loon Echo Land Trust, go to their website www.lelt.org or call 207-647-4352.