Posts Tagged ‘featured’

Phone Lines Down

Our phone lines are down today (7/26/21). Please email info@lelt.org or message us on Facebook to get in touch. Sorry for any inconvenience! We hope to get them back up soon.

UPDATE: Back up as of 7/27/21. Call 207-647-4352 to get in touch.

Bald Peak Trail Overflow Parking

Overflow parking for the Bald Peak trail on Pleasant Mountain is now available at Shawnee Peak’s East area parking lot. Located 1000 ft down Mountain Rd from the trailhead, the lower half of the lot is available for hikers to park in and will provide a safe alternative to parking on the road, which is prohibited.

Signs indicating where to park have been installed, and Pleasant Mountain trail maps have been updated with this information as well. Thank you to Shawnee Peak for allowing use of their parking area!

National Trails Day 2021

Act

DONATE

  • Please consider a donation to support trail maintenance and construction in the Lake Region of Maine. It costs tens of thousands of dollars every year to care for our trails. Every dollar counts!
  • Sign up to Trek for the Trails in September 2021! A $20 donation per adult qualifies you for prizes.

VOLUNTEER

EXPLORE

  • Get outside on your favorite local trail! Or explore a new-to-you trail nearby. Take a friend who’s never been with you.
  • Go the extra mile and bring a trash bag with you to collect and carry out any trash you see along the way.
  • LELT Trails: www.loonecholandtrust.org/trails
  • Maine Trails: www.mainetrailfinder.com

CELEBRATE

  • Share why you love trails! What does it mean to you to have access to trails close by? How has time on the trails helped you this past year? Post your favorite LELT trail on social media and tag us!
  • Write an op-ed to your local newspaper about why you love & value trails.

ADVOCATE

  • Contact your state elected officials (House, Senate)) and encourage them to support funding for conservation and trails in Maine. Maine’s conservation funding program, Land for Maine’s Future, hasn’t been funded in over a decade. There is minimal public funding available for stewardship of our lands and trails. This means all conservation work, and the costs of caring for lands and trails in Maine, relies on private donations. Maine’s economy runs on our abundant natural resources and access to the outdoors, we need to invest in them.

Ledges Trail Parking Under Construction

‼️ ATTENTION HIKERS ‼️ The Ledges Trail parking area at Pleasant Mountain will be under construction 5/20/21 and 5/21/21There will be limited parking available in the lot during this time. Please use caution.

We are expanding the parking area in order to alleviate parking pressure on Mountain Rd. There were many days last year where parking for the trail overflowed onto the road. The Ledges Trail is one of the most popular hikes in southern Maine (you all know why, it’s a gem!). There were over 12,000 hiker visits* on the Ledges trail alone in 2020.

This year LELT will invest $30,000 into expanding parking, repairing eroded areas, and shoring up unsustainable trail sections to prevent future erosion on Pleasant Mountain. This year’s work has been funded with support from the Maine Land Trust Network and LELT donors.

If you love the Ledges Trail, and are in a position to do so, please donate to support the stewardship of these beloved trails.

*LELT uses infrared trail counters to track trail use

NEW: LELT Ambassador Program

With more people getting outside on LELT preserves & trails than ever before, we’re launching an initiative to reach trail users & community members with information about Loon Echo Land Trust and responsible trail use. If you’re passionate about Loon Echo, responsible outdoor recreation, and caring for our local natural resources this might be the perfect way to get involved!

About

Ambassadors bring LELT’s message and work to a wider audience. These outreach opportunities are a fun and impactful way to engage with the community, and include hosting LELT information tables at local festivals, farmer’s markets, special events, and greeting hikers at LELT preserve trail heads.

No prior experience is necessary; we will provide all the training, information, and materials you need! Ambassadors should be enthusiastic about LELT’s work & mission, and be comfortable interacting with a variety of audiences.

Responsibilities

  • Inform community members and preserve visitors about LELT- our work, how conservation works, information about the trails & preserve, Leave No Trace principles.
  • Answer any questions
  • Gather data on visitor behavior, questions, and challenges
  • Use observations to develop suggestions on possible improvements for LELT

Other Details

  • Ambassadors will be asked to sign up for at least one opportunity for the 2021 season. Regular weekly or monthly opportunities can be arranged too.
  • All volunteers will receive a volunteer t-shirt. Volunteers who sign up for 3 shifts receive a free LELT hat!
  • Locations: Pleasant Mountain (summit or trailhead), Bald Pate Mountain Preserve (summit or trailhead), Hacker’s Hill, Bridgton Farmer’s Market (outside office on Depot St), special events & other opportunities as they arise.

Trainings

All LELT Ambassadors must complete a one-hour training with LELT staff before completing an assignment. One-on-one or smaller group trainings will be coordinated as needed.

Trainings: 

May 11, 7pm on Zoom | Register
June 10, 7pm on Zoom | Register

Earth Day 2021

2021 marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. The celebration of Earth Day has inspired people around the world to protect our planet and build meaningful connections with nature. We can all take actions to ensure that our earth is resilient and beautiful for future generations.

Donate

This Earth Day please consider a donation to Loon Echo Land Trust to support a future with connected ecosystems, clean water, access to outdoor spaces for everyone, forever forests managed to fight climate change and so much more.

Events

Earth Day Volunteer Day
Thursday, 4/22 9:30am – 1pm | Bridgton Community Center

Join the Bridgton Community Center and Loon Echo Land Trust to celebrate Earth Day in Bridgton! We’ll be working together to complete a number of projects around the Community Center and Pondicherry Park. We’ll work in the morning and celebrate with a free BBQ chicken lunch around 12:00 pm. More info here.

Please email Maggie (membership@lelt.org) if you are planning on attending.

Act

  • If you live in Maine, contact your state elected officials about supporting Land For Maine’s Future. Land For Maine’s future funds were used to help protect Hacker’s Hill Preserve, Pleasant Mountain Preserve, Sebago Headwaters Preserve, Crooked River Forest, and Raymond Community Forest. The program has not been funded since 2012. Learn more about how LMF impacts our work.
  • Go for a walk with gloves and a bag & pick up any trash you see. Be sure to wear a bright color or a safety vest, and be mindful of sharp objects. Safety first, always!
  •  Spend time outdoors. Share your experience with your friends on social media. Tag the land trust or land steward that helps you access your special place.
  • Survey and remove invasive plants from your property.
  • Learn something new about the nature nearby.

Share your Earth Day celebration!

Tag LELT in your photos and posts on Facebook (Loon Echo Land Trust), Instagram (@loonecholandtrust) and Twitter (@loonechoLT)!

Mud Season

It’s officially mud season! Some important things to keep in mind if you’re headed for the trails:

  • If a trail is extremely muddy and soupy, please consider turning back and coming back when things dry out. If there is just a bit of mud and water on the trail, walk THROUGH the mud! Seek out stones to step on if you can. Don’t step off the trail to go around the puddle. Enough people stepping around muddy areas will widen the trail and trample important vegetation.
  • LELT parking areas are pretty durable, but everything is soft right now and prone to damage. Please take care and use your best judgement so you don’t cause permanent ruts (or get stuck!).
  • There may still be ice at higher elevations (i.e. Pleasant Mountain). Continue to carry traction with you in case you come across icy areas.
  • If you see trees down or issues on any trails please contact LELT Stewardship Manager Jon at stewarship@lelt.org.

Take care out there to help keep these important resources in good shape. Thank you!

22 Acres Conserved to Expand Tiger Hill Community Forest

Looking north on the Northwest River and Tiger Hill Community Forest. Photo by Allagash Brewing Company.

Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) recently conserved 22 acres of forests and wetlands in Sebago. The land will become part of LELT’s Tiger Hill Community Forest which was conserved at the end of 2019. The now 1,451-acre Community Forest is home to sensitive wildlife habitat, working forestlands, and safeguards the water quality of Sebago Lake – the drinking water supply for one in six Maine residents.

“This land is an incredible gateway to the Tiger Hill Community Forest. In addition to its numerous attributes for wildlife and water quality conservation, cellar holes and stone walls on the property tell the history of a long-forgotten community in the “Folly” area of Sebago. We were so glad to work with the sellers, whose family had cared for the property for generations, to help them achieve their goals of permanently conserving the land and making it available to the public for low-impact recreation,” said LELT Executive Director Matt Markot. 

Part of the 22 acres will be used to create a formal access point to the existing Community Forest. LELT plans to construct a small parking area with a kiosk and trail maps early this summer. A hand-carry boat launch on the newly conserved  property will be formalized to provide better access for kayakers and canoeists to the Northwest River.

Kayaking on the Northwest River.

This latest conservation acquisition for LELT protects critical wetlands and important upland forest associated with the Northwest River, Sebago Lake’s second largest tributary. Additionally, the land supports rare natural communities like a leatherleaf fen, and habitat for critically threatened species like the northern long-eared bat and small-whorled pogonia, a member of the orchid family.

Purchased by LELT at the end of 2019, the Tiger Hill Community Forest property provides public access for a variety of outdoor recreation activities and connects critical forest resources, including an abutting property at Cold Rain Pond that is owned by the State of Maine. The property is home to moose, heron, bobcat and deer. Maintaining this undeveloped and connected landscape helps increase resilience to climate change. The Community Forest property was identified in 2016 by The Nature Conservancy as having exceptional capacity to support wildlife species adapting to the effects of a changing climate. 

Tiger Hill Community Forest is a cornerstone project of Sebago Clean Waters, a collaborative effort of the Portland Water District and eight conservation organizations, including LELT. In addition to protecting Sebago Lake’s water quality, the partnership seeks to support community well-being and the health of fish and wildlife in the Sebago watershed through forestland conservation. 

The Northwest River. Photo by Allagash Brewing Company.

“We’re thrilled that by working together our partnership was able to help expand this community asset that is so important for keeping Greater Portland’s drinking water supply clean. Because forests filter water naturally, conserving land around major Sebago Lake tributaries like the Northwest River helps ensure pure drinking water for over 200,000 Mainers. The abundant recreational opportunities and critical wildlife habitat offered by this additional acreage make protecting it even more special,” said Sebago Clean Waters Coordinator Karen Young.

While still largely rural, Sebago and surrounding towns have experienced more than twice the population growth rate of the state as a whole. LELT’s expansion of the Tiger Hill Community Forest helps maintain the region’s rural character while benefiting the local tourism, outdoor recreation, and forest products industries. According to a 2019 University of Maine study, every $1 invested in forestland conservation in the Sebago region provides up to $8 in community benefits.

Owned by LELT, the Tiger Hill Community Forest is stewarded under the guidelines of a management plan. That plan was drafted with input from community members at a series of public meetings in 2019. Funding for the expansion of the Community Forest was provided by the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Portland Water District, the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Sebago Clean Waters, The Robert and Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation and many other generous families and individuals.

More information on Tiger Hill Community Forest, including maps, can be found here.

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.