Posts Tagged ‘Accessible Trail’

New Accessible Trail Underway

Photo by Nancy Campbell

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.

Loon Echo Land Trust awarded $50,000 Grant for Trail Development

Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) has received a $50,000 grant from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) to construct a new trail and parking area at Peabody-Fitch Woods, their newest preserve. The trust purchased and protected the 252 acres of forestland surrounding Bridgton Historical Society (BHS)’s Narramissic Farm in South Bridgton in August of 2019.

The grant will be used to build a new universal access trail that will take visitors on a walk through time. When completed, the 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 Recreational Trails Program is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. RTP provides funding to Maine and other states to “develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and non-motorized recreational trail uses.” LELT has received RTP funding for several other projects in the past, including projects at Pleasant Mountain Preserve and Raymond Community Forest.

LELT has received additional funding for the trail project from individual donors as well as the Maine Land Trust Network’s L.L. Bean grant program. In total, the trust has raised $70,000 to break ground on the new trail in 2020.

“We received incredible support from the community for this conservation project,” says Matt Markot, LELT’s Executive Director. “The support we are seeing now for trail development speaks to the preserve’s potential to benefit our community in many ways.”

The forest (now called 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. Under LELT’s ownership and management, Peabody-Fitch Woods will never be developed, but the property will remain on the municipal tax roll. LELT’s acquisition of this land secured public access for recreational opportunities including hunting, walking, and nature observation.

Peabody-Fitch Woods will also support a variety of cultural, educational and recreational activity. BHS has used the woods for programs and tours for many years, and now LELT and BHS are planning new collaborative events that will take advantage of access to the farm and the woods.

More information about Peabody-Fitch Woods can be found at www.lelt.org/pfw. More information about Narramissic, the Peabody-Fitch Farm, can be found at bridgtonhistory.org/Narramissic.


Peabody-Fitch Woods was conserved and protected by LELT on August 2nd, 2019. Thank you to the many individual donors, including the Normann Family, 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.