Posts Tagged ‘featured’

Go Outside! Winter Vacation Edition

School’s out, there’s snow on the ground, the sun is shining: there’s no better time to get outside and enjoy nature with the whole family.

Check out our trail suggestions below based on activity, and as always, contact us if you have questions or would like a recommendation.

*all of the trails & preserves listed below have plowed parking areas thanks to the support of LELT donors & generous local businesses.

Snowshoeing – Flat

  • Crooked River Forest, Harrison – Head out on the Intervale Trail to check out the Crooked River. Then continue on the purple blazed snowshoe trail, and finishup on the Evergreen trail back to the parking area. It’s a relatively flat (one steep section), 3-mile loop. Note: Part of the loop is shared with snowmobiles.
  • Raymond Community Forest, Raymond – Spiller Homestead Loop & Grape Expectations Interperative signs along the Homestead Loop will teach you about what you’re seeing in the woods as you walk.
  • Peabody-Fitch Woods, Bridgton – Field Loop Trail: head right on the trail from the parking area for a leisurely snowshoe around the upper field of Narramissic Farmstead. Benches offer rest-stops along the way. Great for beginners or trying out new gear! (Also great on XC skis). Connect to the Quarry Trail to make your journey a bit longer. Gradual inclines, one steeper section, trail maps at intersections to help you stay oriented. Great views of Hancock Pond!
  • Pondicherry Park, Bridgton – Relatively flat trails in the heart of downtown Bridgton, easy access from the Depot Street Parking lot. Many options to choose from (you really can’t go wrong). Download Bridgton Historical Society’s App and take a walk through history as you explore the park.

Snowshoeing (Up!) & Winter Hiking

  • Raymond Community Forest, Raymond – Head up the Pismire Bluff Trail for great views of Crescent Lake. It’s steep in sections and will get your heart pumping!
  • Bald Pate Mountain Preserve, South Bridgton – Park in the main parking area off of Route 107, and head up the Bob Chase Scenic Loop to the summit. Steady going with rewards of great views on the way up & at the top. Great option for a sunset or sunrise hike!
  • Pleasant Mountain – The tallest mountain in Southern Maine is a popular destination for winter hiking. Four main trails to choose from (they all connect to the summit), but the Ledges Trail is the most popular (steady incline, views at the half-way point, shorter than others). Note: the Firewarden’s trail is shared with snowmobiles in the winter, so it is groomed and makes for easier snowshoeing.

Skiing (groomed)

Snowmobiling


More Resources

Happy trails!

Tenny River Conserved

We are pleased to announce the conservation of 25 acres of forested land along the eastern shore of the Tenny River in Raymond! While remaining privately owned by the Pine Tree Council (PTC) of the Boy Scouts of America, the newly conserved land is legally protected by a conservation easement held by Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT). The property is managed by PTC as a part of Camp Hinds, a wilderness camp in existence for over 85 years. 

The protected land includes 900 feet along the river, as well as several streams and a wetland. The conservation of the 25 acres protects the water quality of the Tenny River and the waters it connects to, preserves the forested river corridor for nature observation & education as well as low-impact boating and fishing, and allows for habitat preservation and sustainable forest management. The land and river provide a rich habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife. 

The terms of the perpetual conservation easement, which will run with the land regardless of future ownership, will preserve the quality of the water resources, plant and animal habitat, and scenic character of the property, while also encouraging the use of the property for educational and recreational opportunities managed by PTC. 

Conserving this land is part of an effort to protect the Tenny River that began a decade ago. In 2010, PTC purchased property on the shore of the Tenny River. In 2014, LELT worked with community members and PTC to permanently protect the 28 acres of forest and nearly 800 feet of shoreline on the Tenny River. The newly conserved land is directly adjacent, creating over 50 acres of contiguous conservation land and 1,700 feet of shoreline on the river, protected forever.

“Thanks to the foresight of local landowners and community members, the Tenny River remains almost entirely undeveloped, a rare occurrence in this area of the State,” said LELT Executive Director Matt Markot. “The conservation of this land ensures future generations will enjoy kayak paddles and the excitement of landing a fish on a wild and scenic Tenny River.” 

Executive Director Matt Markot Paddles the Tenny River in October 2020.

Just 45 minutes north of Portland, the Tenny River allows boaters to experience an undeveloped river habitat. The river is bookended at one end by Panther Pond and the PTC’s Camp Hinds, and at the other by Route 85 and Crescent Lake. A public boat launch on the south end of Crescent Lake provides access for boaters; lake residents and visitors travel through the Tenny to enjoy its natural beauty and to explore the lakes on either end. 

The protection of the Tenny River corridor in turn protects the water quality of Panther Pond, Sebago Lake and the Casco Bay watershed. The river and its forested banks have been identified by both the Town of Raymond’s Open Space Plan and the conservation partnership Sebago Clean Waters (SCW) as a high priority for protection.

SCW, a collaborative of nine organizations, including LELT, contributed funds toward the long-term management, stewardship, and enforcement of the easement. The funds are the result of support from forward thinking Portland-area businesses—such as Allagash Brewing Company and a grant from the Woodard & Curran Foundation (funded by donations from Woodard & Curran employees) — that recognize the importance of clean Sebago Lake water for their communities and businesses to thrive.

The conservation easement was made possible by the Pine Tree Council, a group of Panther Pond landowners, the support of many individual donors, and Sebago Clean Waters.


If you’re interested in learning about the conservation options available for your land, contact LELT Executive Director Matt Markot at 207-647-4352 or by email at execdir@lelt.org.

Together Outdoors

Are you looking for ways to gather safely with family this Thanksgiving? Consider a walk or hike outdoors! (Remember to wear a mask and keep your distance.) Here are our recommendations for outdoor spaces that are suitable for all ages:

**NOTE: Hunting is allowed on all LELT lands. Please wear blaze orange when visiting LELT preserves & trails.**

1. Mayberry Hill Preserve, Casco 

Part of the Loop Trail at Mayberry Hill Preserve

A relatively flat, one-mile loop trail on the preserve features benches and rock walls. A great place for a stroll in the woods.

2. Peabody-Fitch Woods – South Bridgton

Loop trail at Peabody-Fitch Woods

Check out the new trail built to universal access standards at Peabody-Fitch Woods. Just half a mile, this trail is flat, gravel surfaced, and has benches along the way. Explore the grounds of Narramissic after you’re done. Head up the quarry trail for more of a challenge & a look back in time.

3. Bald Pate Mountain Preserve, South Bridgton

One of the views from the top of Bald Pate

An easy-moderate hike that rewards you with great views on the way up & at the top. Park in the main parking area off of Route 107, and head up the Bob Chase Scenic Loop to the summit.

4. Hacker’s Hill Preserve, Casco

Hacker’s Hill Preserve

Although the gate is closed for the season you are welcome to walk up (take your time, it’s steep!). This preserve features fields for kids to run around in, picnic tables, and amazing views. Pro-tip: bring a kite if it’s windy!

Note: limited parking available.

5. Raymond Community Forest, Raymond 

View from Pismire Bluff at Raymond Community Forest

The Spiller Homestead Loop at RCF offers interpretive signs that will teach you about what you’re seeing in the woods as you walk. Looking for a challenge? Head up the Pismire Bluff Trail for great views of Crescent Lake.

6. Pondicherry Park, Bridgton

A Boardwalk at Pondicherry Park

Easy walking trails in the heart of downtown Bridgton. Download Bridgton Historical Society’s App (search “Bridgton Historical Society” in your app store) and take a walk through history as you explore the park. Or, just explore on your own and see how many different kinds of trees you can find!

Happy trails!

Hunting on LELT Lands

Did you know hunting is allowed on all of our preserves (land that LELT owns)? That’s over 6,000 acres. It is our mission to keep the Maine tradition of public access to private land for recreation alive here in the Lake Region.

As a local, non-­profit organization we encourage all users- hunters, hikers, snowmobilers, mountain bikers, skiers – to consider making a donation to the Trust so that we can continue to manage and care for our lands and trails. You may donate at a trail head, or online by clicking here.

One of the quarries at Peabody-Fitch Woods.

Stay safe and enjoy time outside this hunting season with the following tips:

FOR HUNTERS

  • Follow all Maine State Hunting Laws.
  • Consider hunting on one of our preserves that doesn’t have a formal trail network on it.
  • Be respectful of the land.
  • No permission is needed to hunt on LELT lands, however we encourage you to let us know that you’re using and appreciating the access. We also love to know what you see (not to scope out spots for ourselves, but to get a sense of what wildlife is out there). Contact Jon (stewardship@lelt.org, 207-647-4352) to chat about your time on our lands.
  • For more resources on hunting in Maine, click here.

FOR HIKERS AND OTHER USERS

  • Always wear two items of bright, blaze orange clothing. Pets, too!
  • Stay on the trail
  • Know hunting season dates. Click here to view the 2020-2021 Maine dates.
  • Avoid hiking at dawn and dusk, as those are prime times of the day for hunting.
  • Hike on Sunday – there is no hunting on Sundays per Maine State Law.
  • Go for a walk somewhere where hunting is not allowed, such as Pondicherry Park.

Thanks for respecting and appreciating the land. Have fun and stay safe!

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.

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!