Peabody-Fitch Woods was conserved and protected by LELT on August 2nd, 2019. Thank you to the many individual donors that made this land protection project possible. Additional thanks to the Portland Water District, Sebago Clean Waters, Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, Davis Conservation Foundation, Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust, an anonymous family foundation, Kendal C. and Anna Ham Foundation and Fields Pond Foundation.

About

Peabody-Fitch Woods (PFW) is a 252-acre forest surrounding the fields of Bridgton Historical Society’s (BHS) Narramissic Farm.

The property was originally a part of the historic Peabody-Fitch Farm and is available to the public for walking, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, nature observation, hunting, and ATV and snowmobiling in designated areas.

An existing foot trail of moderate difficulty accesses views of the White Mountains to the northwest and Maine’s western foothills to the north. The blue-blazed trail leads 0.7 miles to a small quarry that was the source of the granite for the foundations of the farm buildings. BHS currently conducts educational events at the farmstead and in the surrounding woods. 

Peabody-Fitch Woods shares over 5,000′ of boundary with the Perley Mills Community Forest, a 1400-acre forest owned by the Town of Denmark and protected with a conservation easement by LELT. PFW is also close to other LELT conserved lands including Bald Pate Mountain Preserve (see map below). Connectivity of land matters because habitats and species function best as part of a large, interconnected network. The more connected the landscape, the more species are able to adjust to changes in the environment. 

75% of this forest is located within the Sebago Lake watershed with the other 25% located within the Saco River watershed. Through source filtration, this forest safeguards important water resources for the benefit of local water users and for 1/6 of Maine residents who get their water from Sebago Lake and the Saco River watersheds.

Use Guidelines

  • Carry in, Carry out
  • Daytime use only
  • Dogs are allowed. Please keep pets under control (leash or strict voice command) at all times.
  • Target shooting is prohibited
  • Wear blaze orange during hunting season

The Future of PFW – Trails & Programming

A new trail incorporating aspects of ADA design standards is planned for construction at PFW beginning in 2020. Interpretive signage along the trail will highlight the land use history of the property.  The trail will allow for non-motorized access and will be designed for walking, skiing, snowshoeing and where topography allows, wheeled mobility devices.

Existing trails will be improved with new signage, blazing, and drainage. With the support and assistance of local clubs, a mixed-use snowmobile and ATV trail that currently exists on the property will remain. 

Peabody-Fitch Woods will support a variety of cultural, educational and recreational activities, many in partnership with the Bridgton Historical Society.

The property has a history of timber management. Loon Echo will continue this tradition with assistance from a licensed consulting forester. Forest management on the property will consider any impacts to recreation and the enhancement of plant and animal habitat.

History

The Peabody-Fitch Farm was established in 1797 by one of Bridgton’s first settlers, William Peabody. Peabody established a granite quarry for the home and farm buildings. The quarry remains intact on the southwestern corner of the parcel. Stone walls indicate both animal pastures and cultivated lands. At least one road crossed the property, coming from the John Peabody farm to today’s Narramissic farm and on to points west in Denmark and Bridgton. In 1938, Margaret Monroe purchased the property to use as a summer home. After her death in 1986, the home, barn, and fields were donated to the Bridgton Historical Society while the forestland was left to her daughter, Peg Normann.

In August 2019 Loon Echo Land Trust purchased the forest from Peg’s estate after a major fundraising effort. The house and barn is maintained by Bridgton Historical Society and is open for tours Tuesday-Saturday from 11-3 through August 15.  The woods are available for public use year round and free of charge. Read more about the historic farm on BHS’s website: http://bridgtonhistory.org/Narramissic

Other Resources

Click HERE for a downloadable map

Click HERE to see drone footage of farmstead and woods.

Click HERE to view the property on Google Maps.