New Accessible Trail Underway
A collaborative trail project between Loon Echo Land Trust and Bridgton Historical Society is now underway. The approximately 1-mile universally accessible trail will be located at Narramissic Farm & Peabody-Fitch Woods in South Bridgton.
The gravel-surfaced trail will weave its way along rock walls, through woods and bring visitors to a viewpoint of the farm, fields, and distant White Mountains. The universal access trail will allow for non-motorized use; appropriate for walking, skiing, running, snowshoeing and some wheeled mobility devices.
The trail project includes the construction of a new parking area and informational kiosk. These infrastructure improvements are further protected by an easement that will ensure it is perpetually accessible to the public.
Work on the new trail and parking area will begin this summer and is expected to be finished in the fall. After a public bid process, Warren Excavation of Bridgton has been selected to manage the construction. LELT will also improve and add to existing trails on the property this summer. Crews from the Appalachian Mountain Club, in addition to LELT staff and volunteers, will work to create a loop trail bringing hikers to more remote sections of the property. Additionally, a multi-use snowmobile and ATV trail on the property will continue to be maintained with the support of local clubs.
Funding for the project has been made possible by the State of Maine’s Recreational Trail Program, Maine Land Trust Network, L.L. Bean, and private donors. Donations for the trail project are still being accepted and can be made online or by mailing a check to Loon Echo Land Trust at 8 Depot St, Suite 4, in Bridgton.
Phase two of the new trail project, scheduled for 2021 and pending fundraising efforts, will include installing interpretive signage to teach visitors about the ecology and cultural history of the land.
Peabody-Fitch Woods was conserved by LELT in August 2019 and ensures public access for recreational opportunities including hunting, walking, and nature observation. The forest surrounds the house and fields of BHS’s Narramissic Historic Farm. Peabody-Fitch Woods was originally part of the historic Peabody-Fitch Farm (now called Narramissic), which was established in 1797, just three years after Bridgton was incorporated. Since 1986 BHS has owned and operated the farm as a museum. The property includes a functioning blacksmith shop, the “Temperance Barn,” and the house, furnished largely with artifacts from the Peabody and Fitch families who built it in 1797 and lived there until 1938.
Peabody-Fitch Woods, the trail to the quarry, and the grounds of the farm are open to the public all year round. In normal times BHS offers regular house tours for visitors. Due to the current public health crisis, BHS has plans to provide house tours for small groups by appointment only, with strict social distancing requirements. Visit BHS’s website or Facebook page for more information.