Peabody Fitch Woods became a LELT property on August 2nd, 2019. Thank you to all those who gave to make this project possible. 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

Photo by Brien Richards. 

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

The property is the original working lands portion of the historic Peabody-Fitch farm, and has existing trails for walking, club-maintained ATV use and in winter – human powered sports and snowmobile use. Over the next few years the property will be transformed into a public recreational area for hunting, walking, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, nature observation and ATV and snowmobiling in designated areas.

The forest trails access magnificent views of the White Mountains to the northwest and Maine’s western foothills to the north. Existing trails lead to a small quarry that was the source of the granite for the foundations of the farm buildings. The BHS currently conducts educational events at the farmstead and in the surrounding woods. 

Historic 18th century granite quarry located on the property.

Peabody-Fitch Woods shares over 5,000′ of connection with the Perley Mills Community Forest, which is a 1400 acre property owned by the Town of Denmark and protected with a conservation easement help by LELT. PFW is also in close proximity to five other conserved lands (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 property will safeguard important water resources for the benefit of the public not only for local water resources, but for 1/6 of the population of Maine who get their water from Sebago Lake and the Saco River basins. Peabody-Fitch Woods will be managed for sustainable forestry to support the perpetual stewardship of the property. 

Peabody-Fitch Woods is in close proximity to other conserved lands including Perley Mills Community Forest, Five Fields Farm, Bald Pate Preserve, two Town of Bridgton woodlots, Sebago Headwaters Preserve, and Holt Pond Preserve.

 

 

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

Peabody-Fitch Woods will take visitors through time on a variety of trails including a new machine built universal access trail. This trail will provide glimpses into the farm’s agricultural past and vistas of westerly mountains. Informational signs along the universal access trail will provide insight into the Peabody and Fitch families pioneering efforts. The trail will follow in close proximity to the mighty stone walls surrounding the open fields of the Narramissic Farm museum, owned and operated by the Bridgton Historical Society. The universal trail will allow for non-motorized access; appropriate for walking, skiing, snowshoeing and assessed for certain wheeled mobility devices.

Existing trails will be improved with new signage, blazing, and drainage. We will also, with the support and assistance of local clubs and trail agreements, maintain a mixed-use snowmobile and ATV trail that currently exists on the property. A dedicated mountain bike trail will be developed to serve this growing user-group.

Peabody-Fitch Woods will support a variety of cultural, educational and recreational activity. Our established relationship with the Bridgton Historical Society lends itself to a long list of possible collaborative opportunities; from education, to music and food events.

The property has a history of timber management. Loon Echo will continue this tradition with assistance from a licensed Consulting Forester. Goals of any forest management will reflect LELT’s goals, including low impact recreation and enhancing 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 out 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 to see aerial footage of the property.

Click HERE to view the property on Google Maps.