Posts Tagged ‘featured’

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!

Earth Day 2020

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. While LELT’s in-person Earth Day events are cancelled, there’s good news: you can celebrate from anywhere! 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.

Here are a few things you can do:

1. 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!

2. Spend time outdoors (low, local, with physical distance). Share your experience with your friends on social media. Tag the land trust or land steward that helps you access your special place.
**Not able to get outside right now? No problem! Share your favorite view from a past adventure on social media.

3. Survey and remove invasive plants from your property.

4. Learn something new about the nature nearby.

5. Be a champion of the natural world with a donation to LELT, or give a gift membership to a friend.

Share your Earth Day celebration!

Tag LELT in your photos and posts on Facebook (Loon Echo Land Trust), Instagram (@loonecholandtrust) and Twitter (@loonechoLT)! #earthday2020

Social Distancing on the Trails

For the most up-to-date information, please visit our COVID-19 update page.

In this time of great uncertainty, heading outdoors to local preserves and trails is a great way to reduce stress levels and stay healthy. If you want to get outside, your first choice should be to stay close to home.

Outdoor adventures need to be safe. The emergency response community, including Maine Forest Rangers and IF&W Wardens, has its hands full. Accidents on the trail and in the woods create unnecessary strain on our first-responders.

We ask all trail users & preserve visitors to adhere to the following guidelines when visiting LELT preserves and trails:

  • If the parking lot is full, the trail is full. Have a plan B and C. Consider waiting or seeking another place to be outdoors. Visit www.mainetrailfinder.com or click here for a full list of places we protect.
  • Do not use the trails if you have symptoms, have traveled recently, or have been exposed to a known or suspected case of COVID-19. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, bring hand sanitizer.
  • Stay six feet away from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk or hike.
  • Warn other trail users of your presence and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times.
  • Be prepared. Trail conditions vary wildly from preserve to preserve and from parking lot to summit. Wear or carry traction and poles if you have them, always have adequate water, snacks, and layers.
  • Stay within your comfort zone- don’t be afraid to turn around. Stick to easy trails to avoid injury and further stress on the local healthcare system.
  • Keep dogs on the leash. This will prevent inadvertent close contact with others.
  • Practice Leave No Trace. Carry in, carry out. There is no trash service at any of our preserves.

Preserves Conducive to Maintaining Physical Distance

** If the parking lot is full, please do not visit the preserve. Have a plan B or come back at a different time.

Resources

Updated 4/29/2020

Update Regarding COVID-19

We have several updates & resources to share with you regarding LELT’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Getting in Touch

Our office is closed to the public for the foreseeable future. Staff are working remotely. Please email info@lelt.org for general inquiries, or contact an individual staff member via email with specific questions or concerns.

Events

We have canceled the following events:
– 3/20 Spring Sunrise Hike
– 4/6 Pondicherry Park Walk
– 4/18 AMC Earth Day Trail Work at Pleasant Mountain
* Other events cancellations will be posted on Facebook and our events page as the situation evolves.

Looking for trails?

We have added an easy-to-use page to make finding information about visiting our preserves with formal trail networks easier.

We have also placed a box of trail maps and our preserve booklets outside our office. Feel free to swing by and grab one. The box will be sanitized daily, but please take your own precautions before and after touching the box and its contents.

Another great resource to find places to go outdoors is Maine Trail Finder.

For Parents

We are working with our colleagues at the Maine Environmental Education Association and other land trusts to bring you materials & activities to help get your kids learning outdoors.

We’ll keep this page updated with ideas & resources to get your family outdoors (and learn something at the same time)!

Bored?

Read our latest newsletter or go back in the archives.

The work continues…

It might look a little different these days, but we are working diligently to prepare the trails for spring and advance new conservation projects that are in the works. Thanks for your support, we couldn’t do this work without you!

Be well and know the trees and trails are there for you.

Effective 3/18/20.

Statement on COVID-19 Outbreak

Posted 3/13/20. This may not reflect LELT’s current COVID-19 related policies and procedures.

Dear LELT community,

We are monitoring developments on the COVID-19 outbreak and taking the appropriate steps to support the health and safety of our employees and community.

Our trails and preserves will remain open to public access, free of charge, during this time. Please do consider using them as an escape, a respite, a place to rejuvenate mind, body, and spirit.

We will proceed with our planned schedule of March events, including our walk at Mayberry Hill Preserve this Sunday. Please stay home if you are not feeling well.

Finally, we hope you will continue to support your local businesses and non-profits as you are able to during this uncertain time. We are all interconnected, and the well-being of our community depends on your support.

Stay safe and healthy, friends! The trees and trails will be there for you. 🌲

Resources

Stay up-to-date on COVID-19 status in Maine.

All event updates will be posted on Facebook and our website.

Find a trail or preserve near you.