Posts Tagged ‘featured’

Social Distancing on the Trails

Please Read: Three Steps for Mainers to Follow Before Heading Outdoors

In this time of great uncertainty, heading outdoors to local preserves and trails is a great way to reduce stress levels and stay healthy. Get outside if you can, and to take care when you do to ensure the safety of others.

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 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. Signal your presence with your voice, bell or horn.
  • 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.
  • 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 out 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.


Updated 3/30/20

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 for general inquiries, or contact an individual staff member via email with specific questions or concerns.


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)!


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. 🌲


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.

Mayberry Hill Preserve – Celebrating 30 Years

On March 15th, 2020, Mayberry Hill Preserve turns 30 years old. in 1990, John and Nancy Gillis of Hudson, MA and Casco, ME donated approximately 130 acres of land located on Mayberry Hill in Casco. The preserve was LELT’s first fee-owned property.

(L-R) Barbara York, Eric Dibner, Jim Tabor

The conservation of Mayberry Hill was covered in the Spring 1990 edition of the Loon Echo News:

Loon Echo Inland Trust is pleased to announce that it has received the donation of a 128-acre parcel in Casco for preservation. The tract includes woodland and fields and scenic views of surrounding lakes and hills. It is at the top of Mayberry Hill, has several wetland and streams that feed Lake Thompson, and provides valuable wildlife habitat and groundwater recharge areas.

The gift encompasses land which has been carefully managed for tree growth, but it is a parcel in the midst of recent subdivisions. The donors have been members of the land trust for several years. They recognized that with nearly a third of a mile of road frontage the site could have been developed into a major subdivision.


Erik Bartlett, President of the land trust, in recognizing the donation, said “This generous gift represents a fitting and enduring tribute to our conservation purposes. It is a model for how our work within the community can save a diminishing resource for the future of Maine.”

On May 25, 2001, 30 acres were added to Mayberry Hill Preserve. Today, the 160-acre preserve features a one-mile loop trail and is used annually by local schools for the Mayberry Hill Forestry Field Day. A walk in celebration of 30 years of LELT stewardship will be held on Sunday, March 15th at 2pm.

Mayberry Hill Preserve is located on land originally stewarded by the Wabanki Confederacy.

We’re Hiring!

Loon Echo Land Trust is seeking a summer stewardship intern to assist with trail work, boundary monitoring, invasive plant management, event staffing, and general office work such as preparing mailings and filing. Depending on experience, opportunities may also exist to assist in GIS management and map making, forest management, and wildlife and natural history interpretation.

The position will run for 10 weeks, 32 hrs/week, and will pay $14/hr. Start and end dates are flexible, and some evening and weekend work will be required.

For more information on the position, including how to apply, click here.

2020 LELT Environmental Education Grants Awarded

Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) is pleased to announce the recipients of their 2019 Environmental Education Grant Program. LELT has awarded grants to Raymond Village Library, Naples Public Library, Spaulding Memorial Library in Sebago, Harrison Elementary School, and Sebago Elementary School.

Every year, schools and libraries in Loon Echo’s service area of Denmark, Bridgton, Harrison, Naples, Casco, Raymond and Sebago are invited to submit grant applications to Loon Echo for environmental programs. These awards will help Lake Region children learn about the environment and the importance of protecting our region’s land and natural resources.

LELT’s Environmental Educational Grants were developed as a memorial to local teachers, Helen Allen and Polly Bartlett. Helen Allen owned a beautiful hilltop farm on Quaker Ridge in Casco looking out to the western foothills and Mt. Washington. She was one of the first to grant Loon Echo a conservation easement on her 60-acre property so that it would be protected in perpetuity. After her death at the age of 94, Helen Allen’s bequest to Loon Echo allowed LELT to create an endowed environmental education fund to support yearly programs in local schools and libraries. 

Polly Bartlett was one of the original Board members of Loon Echo. A teacher at Sebago Elementary School, each year she treated her third graders to a winter walk at Maine Audubon. When she died in 2000 at the age of 48, the Trust created a fund in her memory to ensure that third graders at Sebago Elementary would always take their winter walk. 

For more information on the program’s history, or how to contribute to LELT’s education fund, call 207-647-4352.

“Lands in Trust” by Ron Chase

“Land trusts have positively impacted my life for many years. Yet, I’ve lacked a clear understanding of the important role they play in Maine and the breadth of benefits they provide. A recent accidental encounter has changed that. “

1,400 Acres Conserved in Sebago

Tiger Hill Community Forest protects public access, water resources, and significant wildlife habitat.

Sebago, ME –   Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced the permanent protection of the newly created Tiger Hill Community Forest. The 1,429-acre forest is home to sensitive wildlife habitat, traditional working forestlands, and safeguards the water quality of Sebago Lake – the drinking water supply for over one-sixth of Maine residents.

The property has long been used by local community members for hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, snowmobiling, and other activities. Under LELT ownership, public access for recreation will continue.

Fall foliage near Tiger Hill in Sebago, Maine. Photo by Jerry Monkman.

“Land conservation supports robust outdoor recreation and wood products industries, while also preserving a traditional way of life here in Maine’s Sebago Lake region,” said Matt Markot, Executive Director of Loon Echo Land Trust. “The Tiger Hill Community Forest protects wildlife habitats, secures public access for recreation, and preserves working forestland. The conservation of this land, which would not have been possible without the support of the Sebago community and the Trust for Public Land, will benefit generations of Mainers and visitors to come.”

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 acquisition 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.

“This project is truly a milestone for the Sebago Lake region,” said Betsy Cook, Maine Program Director for The Trust for Public Land. “This new community forest will support the local outdoor recreation and forestry economy, protect a critical drinking water source, and provide a place for the community to connect to the outdoors and to their neighbors.”

Tiger Hill Community Forest protects hundreds of acres of critical wetland habitat and miles of frontage on the Northwest River, Sebago Lake’s second largest tributary. The project is a cornerstone of Sebago Clean Waters, a collaborative effort of nine conservation organizations, including The Trust for Public Land and Loon Echo Land Trust. 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.

“Tiger Hill Community Forest is a stellar example of multiple conservation organizations joining forces with the public and businesses like our local breweries to protect land that will benefit all of us,” said Karen Young, Coordinator of Sebago Clean Waters.

Photo by Jerry Monkman –

Beyond protecting important water resources, the acquisition increases forest connectivity, providing valuable wildlife habitat. The property is known to be home to moose, heron, bobcat and deer.  Maintaining an undeveloped and connected landscapes helps increase resilience to climate change and provides critical habitat for wildlife species adapting to its effects.

TPL facilitated the acquisition of the property from generous landowners with a shared vision to create a community forest. The land is now owned by LELT and will be stewarded to meet community needs for generations to come. Support for the community forest was provided by Portland Water District, the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program, the Open Space Institute’s Resilient Landscape Fund, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Norway Savings Bank, Allagash Brewery, and many other generous foundations and individuals.

While the land is now under LELT’s ownership, the Trust still needs to raise another $250,000 to help cover the costs of caring for the land forever. Those costs include annual tax payments to the Town of Sebago.

“It has long been LELT’s policy to pay municipal property taxes on all of our lands,” said Markot. “Thus ensuring that the benefits of land conservation do not come at the expense of town budgets.” 

Donations to support the long-term stewardship of Tiger Hill Community Forest may be sent to Loon Echo Land Trust, 8 Depot Street Suite #4, Bridgton, ME 04009 or made online here.

Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) is a member supported, non-profit land trust working to protect the natural resources of the northern Sebago Lake region for future generations. Loon Echo conserves over 8,000 acres of land and manages 32 miles of hiking and biking trails in the towns of Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago. To support Loon Echo Land Trust and learn more about their lands, visit

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. TPL has protected nearly 200,000 acres in Maine and has helped more than 30 towns acquire and create Community Forests. To learn more, visit

Sebago Clean Waters (SCW) is a collaborative effort of nine conservation organizations working to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and fish and wildlife habitat in the Sebago region through voluntary forestland conservation. SCW’s goal is to protect 25 percent (35,000 more acres) of the Sebago Lake watershed in the next 15 years. To learn more, visit

Tips for Winter Hiking

Believe it or not, there are many reasons why winter hiking can be even more enjoyable than its summertime counterpart.

Think about it:

  • No bugs!
  • No humidity!
  • No crowds!

But there are a few really important things to consider before heading outside for a winter-time adventure. The list below includes some of the things that we’ve learned from our own adventures and wanted to share with you:

  • Layers! It’s cold when you get out of the car, but once you get going you’ll quickly work up some body heat. Wear layers you can peel off as you move along the trail. Throw your layers in your backpack because once you reach your destination (or the weather changes) you may want to put them right back on.
  • Forget those water bottle holders on your hiking backpack — instead, wrap your water bottle in an extra layer and stash your bottle inside your bag . Water bottles will quickly freeze in the stretchy holders on the outside of your bag.
  • Extra socks — even with the warmest snow boots, it’s an especially wonderful treat to throw on a fresh pair of socks for the ride home. Keep them in your backpack or a jacket pocket during your adventure and they’ll stay warmer than if you left them in the car.
  • Ski Poles – sure, you can spend lots of money on fancy hiking poles (which do work really well) or….you can go to your local dump store and look for some well loved, and funky colored, old ski poles! Poles are so helpful for keeping your balance on snowy trails. And if you like them, you can use them year-round!

And the number one tip:

  • TRACTION!! Whether it’s a pair of snowshoes or micro-spikes (our favorite) you’ll be amazed at the benefit of some extra traction. New this year: if you join us on one of our scheduled hikes or walks we have an awesome new fleet of snowshoes to loan out! Let us know ahead of time and we’ll make sure to have a set ready to go for you. If you want your own, Reny’s usually has some great deals on snowshoes and other traction devices, but don’t forget to check out eBay or Facebook marketplace to see if your neighbor has some they no longer use.

Start small (join us for a winter-time walk at Pondicherry Park in Bridgton or check out the Spiller Homestead Loop at Raymond Community Forest with a friend) and then work up to more challenging winter hikes on Loon Echo preserve lands such as Bald Pate and Pleasant Mountain.

See you on the trails!

Peabody-Fitch Woods

Norway Savings Bank Makes Surprise Year-End Gift to LELT

Norway Savings Bank (NSB) has made a special year-end gift of $10,000 to Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) in support of Tiger Hill Community Forest, the Trust’s current conservation project. The gift from the bank will be matched by a generous anonymous donor, doubling their impact on this important project.

Pat Weigel, President of Norway Savings Bank with Matt Markot (LELT Executive Director) and Maggie Lynn (LELT Development and Outreach Manager).

The land, to be owned and managed by LELT on behalf of the community, protects sensitive wildlife habitat and historic working forestlands, and will be open to the public for recreation. 

The unexpected gift was part of NSB’s “Sharing Success” year-end giving.

Watch NSB deliver good news to local non-profits and organizations, including LELT!

“2019 was another very good year for the Bank, which is a testament to our employees, customers and communities,” said Patricia Weigel, President and CEO of NSB. “Reinvesting in our communities is at the heart of what we do.”

The gift from NSB will directly benefit the communities they serve. Once conserved, Tiger Hill Community Forest will secure close-to-home recreation opportunities for Sebago residents and visitors, support local jobs in tourism and forest-products, and also protect the water quality of Sebago Lake, the drinking water source for the greater Portland area.

Fundraising for the project has been done in collaboration with The Trust for Public Land. Tiger Hill Community Forest has received generous support from Portland Water District, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, the Nature Conservancy in Maine, Highstead Foundation, Sebago Clean Waters, an anonymous foundation, Norway Savings Bank, and many individual donors.  

Donations to support Tiger Hill Community Forest can be made here, or sent to Loon Echo Land Trust, 8 Depot Street Suite #4, Bridgton, ME 04009.