Posts Tagged ‘featured’

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.

First training: May 11, 7pm on Zoom | Register
More to be planned!

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.

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.