Posts Tagged ‘featured’

Fall Hiking Reminders

Pismire Bluff, Raymond Community Forest

The weather these days is perfect for hiking: cool, dry, and no bugs (but do remember to check for ticks!). We’ve seen a large increase in the use of our trails this year, and we expect that trend to continue through the fall as people seek out places to see the foliage. We’re issuing a few friendly reminders as we head into fall:

  • If a parking lot is full, please do not park along the road out of respect for our neighbors and the safety of motorists.
  • Leave no trace: carry out what you bring in. That includes dog poop!
  • Please keep dogs on a leash at Pleasant Mountain, Bald Pate, Peabody-Fitch Woods, Raymond Community Forest and Hackers Hill.
  • Heed all posted use guidelines.
  • Always be prepared with enough water, snacks, and appropriate footwear & clothing.

Access to these special places is a privilege- one we’re grateful to be able to provide- but we’re all stakeholders. We all have a responsibility to care for the land and trails we use and love. Thanks for doing your part.

2020 Trek for The Trails

With access to the outdoors more important than ever, consider supporting LELT trails and preserves by participating in the 2020 Trek for the Trails. All you have to do is register and go enjoy time out on a LELT preserve in whatever way works best for you. 100% of the $20 registration fee gives back to the trails you know & love, and the ones you have yet to discover. All Trekkers will be entered into a raffle for some awesome prizes, too.

There are three ways to participate in the Trek:

  1. Visit any LELT trail or preserve throughout the month of September and hike, walk, bike (on select trails), stroll, take in the view from the top of Hacker’s Hill.
  2. Take on the challenge of visiting 4 LELT preserves over the course of the month with the Trek Trail Passport.
  3. For trail runners, complete a 5.6 mile run route on Pleasant Mountain. Runners will compete on Strava for bragging rights and pie. Trekkers will have the whole month of September to complete their Trek.

Registration is $20/adult, and the Trek is free for youth 16 and under. You can register online here, or by mail a check to LELT (memo: Trek) at 8 Depot St, Ste 4 Bridgton, ME 04009. Participants may register up until Wednesday, September 30th.

Ledges Trail, Pleasant Mountain

All Trekkers will automatically be entered into a raffle for prizes from local businesses, including a 2020-2021 season pass to Shawnee Peak Ski Area. Gift cards from Q-Team, Bridgton Books, and Depot Street Tap House, Ski Hot apparel, a one-night stay at Pleasant Mountain Camping, and more!

Trek for the Trails is Loon Echo Land Trust’s largest annual fundraising event. Funds raised from the Trek help Loon Echo steward over 8,000 acres of land and 30+ miles of trail in the Lake Region. LELT’s goal this year is to raise $15,000 – about a quarter of the annual cost to maintaining LELT’s trails and preserves. The 2020 Trek for the Trails is generously sponsored by Norway Savings Bank and Shawnee Peak.

Watch LELT’s 33rd Annual Meeting

LELT’s 33rd Annual Meeting went virtual this year! Typically the Loon Echo Annual Meeting is a chance to get together with our members, celebrate the achievements of the past year, provide updates on what we’re working on, and elect members of our Board of Directors.

We hope this virtual edition will help keep you up-to-date on all things LELT from the comfort of your home. Thanks to our members for your support, you make everything we do possible.

Update: Peabody-Fitch Woods Trail & Parking

New trails at Peabody-Fitch Woods and a joint LELT & Bridgton Historical Society parking area are underway.

Funding for the project has been made possible by the State of Maine’s Recreational Trail Program, Maine Land Trust Network, L.L. Bean, Chalmers Insurance, an anonymous foundation, 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 (memo: PFW Trail).

See the photos and captions below for a look into the work.

A professional trail crew from the Appalachian Mountain Club cut the corridor for a new loop trail that extends off the trail to the quarry at Peabody-Fitch Woods. The route has been cut, but trail tread work needs to be completed before the trail will be suitable for pedestrian use.
The new trail that extends off the quarry goes by many interesting features, including this opening full of blueberry bushes and more granite quarries.
Once completed, the parking area will be suitable for a number of vehicles. The ability to accommodate more visitors will allow BHS & LELT host large events and school groups at Narramissic & Peabody-Fitch Woods.
[IN PROGRESS] The parking area is located behind the Temperance Barn, tucked away behind a small stand of trees. The entrance to the parking area is located on the right as you drive up Narramissic Rd toward the house and barn (see map below). The road & parking area will be completed soon.
Plan for the parking area and accessible trail at Peabody-Fitch Woods and Narramissic.

UPDATE: 7/16/2020

New corridor has been laid out for the 1-mile accessible loop trail at Peabody-Fitch Woods and Narramissic.
Jon Evans (LELT Stewardship manager) and Eric Dibner (LELT Board Member and State of Maine Accessibility Coordinator) take a look at the new accessible trail.

UPDATE: 8/23/2020

The trail surfacing is down and open for walking.

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.

Response to Recent Events

Land for all. But is it, really?

At Loon Echo Land Trust we conserve land and natural resources for future generations. But also integral to our mission is to make sure access to safe outdoor spaces is not just a privilege for white people. 

Black Lives Matter. We acknowledge that outdoor spaces, careers in conservation, and positions of leadership are not equally accessible or safe for everyone. Injustice and systemic racism do exist in the land conservation community. 

Right now we are taking time to listen, learn, and begin conversations on how to be active partners in long overdue change. Right now we have more questions than answers, but we are committed to long-term learning and constructive action to ensure BIPOC benefit from and have a voice in land conservation.

We acknowledge we have a long way to go. As a first step, we’ve signed on to a statement by the Maine Land Trust Network and have posted some resources that we’re using to begin learning.

Please join us in building a conservation & outdoor community that is more equitable, just, and diverse.

Start Learning

Pleasant Mountain Trails Open

Pleasant Mountain trails are open effective 5/22/2020. Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time. Please follow the guidelines posted below to keep yourself and others safe and healthy.

We have heard from so many people who love and value access to Pleasant Mountain. Pleasant Mountain receives over 20,000 hiker visits a year. It is the tallest mountain in southern Maine and one of the most popular hikes in the State. 

Pleasant Mountain Preserve was conserved in the mid 2000’s thanks to the support of hundreds of individual donors, businesses, and foundations. The maintenance of Pleasant Mountain Preserve (including property tax payments to support local municipalities) and the mountain’s 10-mile trail network costs LELT over $20,000 a year. Taxes, maintenance of the trails and parking areas (including winter snow-plowing) is traditionally funded through the generosity of LELT members and supported by many volunteers. As more people fall in love with Pleasant Mountain, the costs to maintain the trails increases, and we need more support to continue to provide safe public access on the mountain. If you love Pleasant Mountain, please consider making a donation to support its stewardship today. You may donate online or at a trailhead. Thank you.

Over the last two months Pleasant Mountain has been vandalized. LELT stewardship staff have replaced signage and are working to remove graffiti along the trail and summit. Public access is maintained through the generosity of two private landowners and LELT. Please do your part to maintain public access to Pleasant Mountain by respecting all landowner guidelines.

Thank you for choosing to recreate responsibly and helping keep yourself and others safe and healthy.

Guidelines For Use:

  • If the parking lot is full, please do not park along the road out of respect for our neighbors and the safety of other motorists. Have a plan B destination or come back at a different time. 
  • Do not use the trails if you are feeling unwell or have traveled recently.
  • Maintain physical distance from others along the trail and in parking areas.
  • Dogs must remain on a leash.
  • Please pack out all waste and dog poop.
  • Be prepared. Make sure you have a first aid kit and adequate water, snacks and footwear.
  • Stay within your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to turn around!

Get outside, but do it safely.

As summer weather is fast approaching, Maine’s conservation and recreation communities, natural resource agencies, and outdoor brands developed the following checklists to help us all enjoy Maine’s outdoors in ways that are safe and responsible during this difficult time.

Find the Right Time and Place

  • Know Whats Available: Consider visiting a nearby Wildlife Management Area, or a less-trafficked state parkpublic land, or local land trust (Maine Trail Finder is a great resource!)
  • Check before you go: While some popular conservation lands have closed recently due to overuse and crowding, the vast majority remains open to the public. Visit websites to see the latest information on closures or conditions. Please respect all property closures.
  • Have a plan B: If the parking lot is full, the destination is too crowded. If your first destination has a busy parking lot, go to the next spot on your list!
  • Avoid peak times: Get out earlier or later in the day.

Be Prepared Before Heading Out

  • Expect limited services: Facilities like public restrooms could be closed, so plan accordingly.
  • Dress for success: Be aware of current conditions and bring appropriate gear to match those conditions. Local outdoor brands are open for online sales and are available to give advice on appropriate gear and equipment.
  • Support local businesses: Many local businesses from restaurants and retailers to guides and lodges are working hard to provide services in ways that are safe and in keeping with public health rules and guidance. If you’re comfortable, consider finding ways to support them while you’re enjoying the outdoors.
  • Don’t take risks: Stick to familiar terrain and avoid unnecessary chances to avoid injuries, which add stress on first responders and medical resources.
  • Be aware of the rules: Check before you go to see what activities are allowed. If dogs are permitted remember to bring a leash and to properly dispose of waste.
  • Watch out for ticks and biting insects: Wear light-colored pants, closed-toe shoes, and apply EPA-approved bug repellent.
  • Leave home prepared with sanitizer and disinfectant.

Heed All COVID-19 Health Warnings

  • Practice social distancing: Stay at least six feet away from other people who do not live in your household. If necessary, step aside when passing other people on the trail.
  • Don’t linger: Shorten your stay when visiting natural stopping points such as waterfalls, summits, and viewpoints so everyone can enjoy them while maintaining a safe distance.
  • Bring a mask: When you’re in the vicinity of others, even with six feet of separation, a mask will help keep everyone safer.
  • Don’t touch: Avoid touching signs, kiosks, buildings, and benches to minimize the potential spread of the virus.
  • If you’re sick, stay home: It puts others at risk when you leave home while exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19, or if you have recently been exposed to the virus.

If we all follow these guidelines and put public health first, we can enjoy Maine’s natural resources in safe and responsible ways as we work through this difficult time together.

LELT’s COVID-19 Resource & Statement Archive

Tick Season

Unfortunately, tick season is not cancelled this year. Please take precautions when spending time on the land to prevent against tick bites. Find out more about how to prevent tick bites.

Resources

Volunteer Opportunity

The Maine Forest Tick Survey is a collaboration between The University of Maine and volunteer landowners in southern and coastal Maine. Volunteers will collect ticks from their wooded properties this July 2020, and UMaine will identify and test them for pathogens. Volunteers need to own between 10 and 1,000 acres of wooded land and live in one of the following counties: Androscoggin, Cumberland, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, York. For more information, and to sign up, please visit: umaine.edu/ForestTickSurvey.

We will be selecting two LELT properties to submit to the project. Please contact Maggie if you are interested in volunteering to survey a LELT property.

Learning Opportunity

TICK TALK FOR TEENS: HOW TO SAFELY ENJOY THE OUTDOORS AND AVOID TICKS
TUESDAY, MAY 19 AT 1:00 PM
Register here
Hosted by Teens to Trails

A presentation followed by questions and answers about ticks and the diseases they may carry, with two people from the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough, ME. Chuck Lubelczyk and Molly Meagher will combine facts & humor to share how to avoid being bitten by ticks while on the trails and what to look for in ‘tick country.’

Chuck and Molly will also talk about keeping pets safe, both around your home and while out in the woods. With funny examples of what not to do, we will cover what to wear to avoid tick bites, the proper precautions to take before heading out, and what to do if you find a tick on yourself or your pet. Preferred registration for teenagers and outing club members, but all outdoor enthusiasts are welcome! Brought to you by Teens to Trails, we believe Life Happens Outside! To register go to Teens to Trails Special Events.and click on the register here button.

#GivingTuesdayNow

THANK YOU!

Update 5/6/2020: Thank you to everyone who gave and acted on behalf of the earth and their community yesterday! The trees and trails thank you, too.

We are joining non-profits around the world in celebrating #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving back to in response to these tough times. We invite you to participate in this day of giving through a donation to LELT, or an action to make the earth a bit brighter.

LELT is grateful to be part of a community that cares about protecting the environment and values access to the outdoors. We give back by conserving and caring for the lands and special places you know and love.

Together, and because of your support, we are protecting over 8,000 acres and maintaining over 32 miles of trails. By protecting nature, we are helping to create a healthy future for all.

We know times are tough, and we are as committed as ever to keep our local economy ticking through contracting and buying local.

May we continue to work together to keep our earth and communities resilient. Every bit helps, and we thank you.

Your gift supports

  • Outdoor recreation in the Lake Region
  • Public access
  • Clean water in the Sebago Lake watershed for drinking & recreation
  • Important wildlife habitat
  • More conservation of forests and wetlands to keep our earth resilient

Action

We know times are tough right now, so if you’re unable to donate this #GivingTuesday, consider action.

  • Give back to the earth with a bit of trash clean-up. Take to the roads or trails near your home with bright clothing, gloves and a garbage bag. Take a photo of all the trash you collected  and send it to us so we can celebrate your efforts!
  • Give a shout out to your favorite conserved lands or trail on social media. Tag LELT – it helps!