Posts Tagged ‘Narramissic’

Phase One of Trail Project Complete

While Bridgton has many incredible outdoor spaces, for many members of our community, few of these spaces are accessible. Now, thanks to a collaborative project by Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) and Bridgton Historical Society (BHS), that has changed.

The first phase of a new, universal access, trail project has been completed at Peabody-Fitch Woods and Narramissic Farm in South Bridgton. The trail, a first-of-its-kind in the Lake Region, is designed to accommodate strollers and wheeled mobility devices.

Three benches have been placed along the trail at equal intervals.

We have long wanted to create an opportunity for folks of all mobilities to enjoy the beauty of the Lake Region. Thanks to the support and hard work of many people, that opportunity has now been created. We couldn’t be happier to share this incredible new trail with our community.

About the Trail

The new trail is a half-mile long, and features a gravel surface and gentle slopes. It weaves its way along rock walls, through woods and brings visitors to a viewpoint of the farm, fields, and distant White Mountains. There are also several benches along the trail for rest stops. In addition to its accessible components, the trail can be enjoyed by walking, running, biking, or skiing and snowshoeing in winter months.

Thanks to the help of volunteers and the Appalachian Mountain Club, LELT also added to Peabody Fitch Woods’ trail offerings with a new backcountry hiking loop that passes by several historic granite quarries used to build parts of the Narrow Gauge railroad and Highland Lake Dam.

Thank You

The first phase of this project was made possible by the State of Maine’s Recreational Trail Program, Chalmers Insurance Company, the Kendal C. and Anna Ham Foundation, L.L. Bean, and many generous private donors. Warren Excavation of Bridgton completed the construction of the trail and a new parking area.

Looking Ahead: Phase Two

Phase two of the project, scheduled for 2021 and pending fundraising efforts, will include installation of a kiosk, interpretive signage along the trail, and formal trail signs.

Donations for this phase of the trail project are still being accepted and can be made online below or by mailing a check to Loon Echo Land Trust (memo: PFW Trail) at 8 Depot St, Suite 4, in Bridgton.

About Peabody-Fitch Woods & Narramissic

Peabody-Fitch Woods, the trails, and the grounds of Narramissic Farm are open to the public year-round. Tours of the historic farm house and museum can be made by appointment with the Bridgton Historical Society.

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.

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.

252 Acres Conserved in South Bridgton

After a major fundraising effort, Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) is excited to announce that we have purchased and protected 252 acres of forestland surrounding Bridgton Historical Society’s Narramissic Farm in South Bridgton. 

“We received incredible support from the community for this conservation project,” says Matt Markot, Loon Echo Land Trust’s (LELT) Executive Director. “The site of a once prosperous and well known family farm in South Bridgton, this land has great cultural, historical and ecological significance. We’ve chosen to call this land ‘Peabody-Fitch Woods’ in honor of the families who settled and farmed here. Now protected, this land will continue to benefit our community forever.”

Narramissic Historic Farm

The forest was originally part of the historic Peabody-Fitch Farm (now called Narramissic), which was established in 1797, just three years after Bridgton was incorporated. Margaret Monroe purchased the property in 1938. She left the farm buildings and fields to Bridgton Historical Society when she passed away in 1986.

Monroe’s daughter, Margaret “Peg” Normann, spent many of her summers at Narramissic and owned the 252 forested acres surrounding the farmstead. Peg passed away on June 11th, 2019.

“Loon Echo’s permanent conservation of this land is a fitting tribute to her love for the farm that she knew for so much of her life,” said the Bridgton Historical Society in a statement.

“We are thrilled to see the dreams that our mother and grandmother had – to make Narramissic and the surrounding land a place for others to enjoy – coming to fruition,” said Kristin (Normann) Mudge, daughter of Peg Normann and grandaughter of Margaret Monroe. “They would be so pleased! My siblings and I are excited and grateful that Loon Echo Land Trust and the Bridgton Historical Society are greeting this new venture with such energy and enthusiasm, and that our family’s beloved farm will forever remain intact.”

The Normann Family’s decision to conserve the property is noteworthy. Ned Allen, Bridgton Historical Society’s Executive Director, notes the significance of conserving the land surrounding the farmstead. “One of the most important components of Narramissic’s historic significance is its isolation from contemporary architectural and landscape features.”

Peabody-Fitch Woods is in close proximity to other conserved lands including Perley Mills Community Forest, Five Fields Farm, Bald Pate Preserve, two Town of Bridgton woodlots, Sebago Headwaters Preserve, and Holt Pond Preserve.

Under our ownership and management, Peabody-Fitch Woods will never be developed, but the property will remain on the municipal tax roll. This acquisition also secures public access for recreational opportunities including hunting, walking, and nature observation. We will enhance the existing pedestrian trails located on the property and work with local clubs to ensure that a snowmobile and ATV corridor on the property remains accessible.

We will construct a new universal access trail over the next year that will take visitors on a walk through time. When completed, the trail will provide glimpses into the farm’s agricultural past and vistas of westerly mountains. Informational signs along the universal access trail will provide insight into the Peabody and Fitch families’ pioneering efforts. 

“The Peabody, Fitch, Monroe and Normann families left an amazing legacy,” says LELT’s Stewardship Manager and South Bridgton resident Jon Evans, “We [LELT] are proud to now have the responsibility of protecting and managing this land forever.”

Peabody-Fitch Woods will also support a variety of cultural, educational and recreational activity. We are collaborating with the Bridgton Historical Society to plan new collaborative events that will take advantage of access to the farm and the woods.

Walking from the fields of Narramissic towards Peabody-Fitch Woods. Photo by Brien Richards.

The conservation of Peabody-Fitch Woods also increases forest connectivity, provides valuable wildlife habitat, and aids in the protection of the Sebago Lake watershed. Seventy-five percent of the forest is located within the Sebago Lake watershed, prompting Portland Water District to make a significant contribution to the project. “Forests filter water naturally, so these woods will help keep Sebago Lake – and all the ponds and streams between the property and Sebago Lake – clean forever. This is why our company is so supportive of Loon Echo’s work,” says Portland Water District Environmental Manager Paul Hunt.

We also received generous support from many community members, charitable foundations (including The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, Kendal C. and Anna Ham Charitable Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation, Davis Conservation Foundation, Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust and an anonymous family foundation) and Sebago Clean Waters for this project. Thank you to everyone who contributed and helped conserve this special place.

We invite you to join us for a sunset concert with Bruce Marshall at Narramissic Farm on Wednesday, August 14th at 6:00 PM to celebrate the conservation of Peabody-Fitch Woods. Bring chairs, blankets, and a picnic for a fun evening outdoors. Carpooling is advised. Suggested donation of $10/person with proceeds to benefit Peabody-Fitch Woods and the Bridgton Historical Society.

More information about Peabody-Fitch Woods can be found at www.lelt.org/pfw.