Time To Get Your Trek On: Loon Echo Land Trust Hosts 16th Annual Loon Echo Trek Fundraiser


For the last 15 years, on the third Saturday in September, hundreds of hikers and cyclists across New England have come out to support Loon Echo Land Trust and its land conservation efforts by participating in the Loon Echo Trek.  This year the tradition continues as Loon Echo Land Trust, headquartered in Bridgton, gears up for the 16th annual Trek.  The event starts and ends at host site Shawnee Peak Ski Area on Saturday, September 17th.  Online registration at www.bikereg.com/2016-loon-echo-trek closes on September 11th.

This fun, family friendly annual hiking and cycling event boasts the Toughest Century in Maine, with options for 25, 50 and 80 mile routes for road cyclists. Hikers can choose either a 4.5 or 6 mile route across the ridge line of Pleasant Mountain. Trekkers can also choose to do a little of both with the Hike & Bike option.  Fair-weather fans can register the morning of the event at Shawnee Peak Ski Area.  There is no cap on the number of riders allowed to participate, but hikers are limited to 50 participants.

“This year I registered to do the Hike and Bike combo so I can enjoy the gorgeous views atop Pleasant Mountain and the beautiful views riding throughout western Maine towns! Great exercise, great views, delicious food and drink…all for a great cause!” said Loon Echo Land Trust member and Trek enthusiast, John Keller of Gray, Maine,  “I’m excited to be doing my 6th Loon Echo Trek!!! Such a great event to help support all the awesome work they do at preserving beautiful land in western Maine for all to enjoy!”

With the help of their dedicated volunteers and sponsors the Trek provides a fully supported adventure with rest stations located throughout the bike routes offering trekkers water and delicious snacks to refuel with.  Many of these rest stations are staffed by the same friendly faces year after year, a truly welcoming site to folks who ride and hike each year.  Ernie’s Cycling Shop of Westbrook, Maine has been a sponsor of the event for the past  8 years and once again will provide a team to help with minor bike repairs needed at the event.  Ham radio operators from Yankee Amateur Radio will be providing communication services the day of the event.

All participants and volunteers are welcomed back to Shawnee Peak for a post-Trek party, featuring an all new taco bar, Allagash beer, massages from Richard Bader Physical Therapy and live music from the great local band, Junco.  Throughout the party Loon Echo will be raffling off outdoor gear and prizes to all who ride, hike and volunteer donated by Swix, WCLZ, AMC, Pearl Izumi, Maine DOT, EMS and Darn Tough.

The partnership between Loon Echo Land Trust and Shawnee Peak goes back to 2002 when the Trek event was moved to the Ski Area.  In 2004 Loon Echo made its first public announcement for their campaign to purchase and protect land on Pleasant Mountain.  Just last summer the land trust purchased an additional 180 acres from Shawnee Peak, including the North Peak and additional forested parcels to the west.  This brings to over 2,080 acres of iconic Pleasant Mountain owned and protected by the land trust.

Loon Echo Land Trust oversees the management of the hiking trail network on Pleasant Mountain. The majority of the Ledges, Bald Peak and Southwest Ridge trails are owned by the nonprofit conservancy organization.  They have signed trail agreements with four additional generous landowners to allow Loon Echo to conduct trail maintenance and improvements and to allow the public to access the high peak.

“The Loon Echo Trek is both a great family event and a challenging endurance event at the same time,” says Tracy Burk, event coordinator for the Trek. “You will find dedicated cyclists tackling the toughest century in Maine, but you might also encounter a rider on a unicycle. You will see entire families enjoying the hike and the fall foliage together … At the end of the Trek, participants enjoy great food and live music at the post-Trek party.” Tracy Burk, Loon Echo Trek Coordinator

Loon Echo Land Trust conducts events throughout the year.  The next event is A Hawk Migration Watch at Hacker’s Hill Preserve in Casco, ME on September 24th.  More information on this and other events can be found on Loon Echo’s website at HTTP://www.loonecholandtrust.org/events/

Loon Echo Land Trust protects over 6,600 acres of land and manages 28 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 more information about upcoming events or ways you can support Loon Echo Land Trust, go to their website www.lelt.org or call 207-647-4352.