Archive for category: In the News

BTLT in the News, “Brunswick solar array could be model for others in future”

“Brunswick solar array could be model for others in future”

October 18, 2018

On Wednesday, October 17, the key individuals involved in the Crystal Spring Farm Community Solar Project, representatives from the Town of Brunswick and ReVision Energy, as well as local politicians gathered to celebrate the project that provides about 100,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year to Crystal Spring Farm plus seven other Brunswick families without access to solar electricity where they live.

Everyone enjoys a bright, sunny day, but for the folks at Crystal Spring Farm and their solar array, a little bit of sunshine is that much sweeter.

The 78.6-kilowatt photovoltaic solar energy installation has been online at the Brunswick farm for almost two years, producing, on average, 100,000 kilowatt-hours of clean energy every year, according to Steve Weems, one of the project’s leaders.

Along with other community members, Crystal Spring Farm and the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust, which owns the land the farm is on, partnered with ReVision Energy to establish a net metering agreement in which each participant gets a kWh credit on their electric bill each month. Crystal Spring Farm owns 44 percent of the share, and the other eight participants split the remainder.

Weems; farm owner Seth Kroeck; Angela Twitchell, executive director of the BTLT; and some of the participating families and local politicians gathered at the solar array Wednesday evening for a small celebration marking two years of solar power in the community.

The project supports not only clean energy, Weems said, but also local, community-based agriculture.

When the conversation concerning a solar array first began, Kroeck said there was initial worry from the community that the array, which covers a half acre of pasture, would be too “ugly.”

However, he argued that people should shift their perceptions of beauty. Gesturing to the silo behind him, he said that while the silo was perhaps not a particularly attractive building, it is what people think of when they think of a farm. This, too, should be the case with the array, he said, adding that “it’s part of the iconography of a modern farm.”

Click here to read the full article.

BTLT in the News, “New bike club wants to expand opportunities for riders”

“New bike club wants to expand opportunities for riders”

October 17, 2018

 

The Neptune Woods Trails Celebration is this Sunday, October 21 and we can’t wait to enjoy the trails with you! Check out this recent Times Record article to learn more about the new trails.

BRUNSWICK — A new club in the Topsham and Brunswick wants to give bike enthusiasts more places to ride and draw more people into the sport.

Since opening a new chapter in April, the Six Rivers chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association has been working to improve access to recreational trails. Topsham officials recently gave the club the go-ahead to develop a trail system in town. Through volunteer efforts and partnering with the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust they are ready to officially open the Neptune Woods Trail at Brunswick Landing on Oct. 21.

“We had these trails in Brunswick and Topsham that really just need some maintenance,” said Kristian Haralson, Six Rivers board member. “Our hope is within the next year to do more programming.”

The group hopes the new trails and programs will draw more riders, especially children. Haralson said Topsham’s designs will be similar to what the club has done in other areas. The trail should be smooth, making it accessible for newer riders.

Read the full article here.

BTLT in the News, “Brunswick trail has wormers, clammers, hikers in mind”

Brunswick trail has wormers, clammers, hikers in mind

September 26, 2018

The new trail at Woodward Cove received some press recently, courtesy of Elizabeth Clemente at The Forecaster.

Woodward Cove, a property the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust purchased two years ago to preserve mud-flat access for wormers and clammers, has a new walking trail.

The new trail runs through the organization’s property on Gurnet Road.

Stewards from both BTLT  and the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust were responsible for creating the new path and cut the winding, lollipop-shaped route. It is just under a half-mile long and gives hikers views of hills and apple trees.

Margaret Gerber, stewardship manager for BTLT, said the trail was completed at the end of July, and is open, but her organization will not likely have a formal opening celebration for the property at this time because it does not yet have signs or a kiosk.

Gerber said in addition to giving visitors views of local scenery, the new path will also maintain a space for fishermen to work.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

BTLT in the News, “Harpswell, Brunswick join the Dempsey Challenge”

Harpswell, Brunswick join the Dempsey Challenge

September 26, 2018

The Dempsey Challenge is coming through Brunswick on Sunday! To learn more, read the latest story on the Challenge by the Forecaster.

As part of its 10th anniversary this weekend, the Dempsey Challenge has devised a new cycling route that includes Brunswick and Harpswell.

The Dempsey Challenge Sept. 29 and 30 is an annual two-day, non-competitive run, walk and cycling fundraiser. Proceeds go to Dempsey Centers, an organization founded by actor Patrick Dempsey to help Mainers and their families impacted by cancer.

To read more, click here.

BTLT in the News, “Sandy Stott: A walk through the Neptune Woods”

“Sandy Stott: A walk through the Neptune Woods”

September 28, 2018

Sandy Stott took to the trails at Neptune Woods last week to enjoy the newly constructed, winding multi-use trails on Brunswick Landing.

For area residents September’s an expansive season. Summer’s heat, insects and clotted traffic dissipate, and the sharp air and colors invite us outside. For a number of us that means taking to local trails to walk, wander or ride. That we have also a series of new trails “coming online” marks us as doubly lucky.

Some of those new trails wind through the 64-acre Neptune Woods on the old base, and within days the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority will transfer those woods to the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, who will manage them and their trails for riders, walkers and runners of many speeds and stripes. Celebration will ensue on October 21st at an open woods day. (Check the land trust’s site for developing plans.)

For the land trust and its partners, the redevelopment authority, the Six Rivers Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association and Brunswick’s Recreation Department, this new, mixed-use woodland represents an opportunity to bring advocates for open, public space together. In particular, it offers the chance to educate walkers, runners and cyclists in sharing trails. Success in doing so can translate into broadened public support for access and trail systems. Both land trust and Six Rivers look forward to developing and promoting shared-trail etiquette.

On a recent visit to Neptune Woods, I got to imagine both ways of taking to the trails, even as I stuck to my foot borne habits. I parked in the dirt pull-off on the south side of Neptune Drive and set off into the woods. An old Navy fitness trail threads the early woods, and it has the linear resolve of a track; it is all about getting from A to B, and then on to C. From there a foot path drops down to a stem of Mere Brook, and at the crossing, the Woods’ new design becomes evident.

A well-built, new bridge crosses the brook, and it has a ramp at each end; it is, in short, bike friendly, even as the trail beyond climbs mostly straight toward the Woods’ far side. But then orange flagging alerts me to other possible directions, and I step onto a different sort of trail, one that snakes through the woods.

If you would extract the maximum trail-mileage from an acreage, you might do well to check with your local mountain biking club. At Neptune Woods, Six Rivers and other volunteers have been hard at work and their serpentine trails wind pleasingly and at length through the mixed hard and softwood forest.

As I walk and jog these trails, it becomes clear that they are not about getting from point to point; they are instead about being in motion in the woods for as long as possible. Even with the slowness of my foot travel, I feel a rhythm develop. The trail flows around large trees, rises over bumps and drops into little drainages. It ripples with the land. I feel a bit like water moving.

To read the full story, click here.

BTLT in the News, “These little doggies will not be going to market”

“These little doggies will not be going to market”

September 9, 2018

Mary Pols wrote a well-balanced piece featured in The Source on Sunday, September 9 on the new dog policy at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm.

One Monday morning this summer, Jacqui Koopman, the manager of the wildly popular Saturday morning market at Crystal Spring Farm, walked into her office and announced she’d had it.

Maybe it was the pooping that pushed her over the edge. Possibly the peeing. Lunging and snarling were also a problem.

“We have got to have a dog policy,” Koopman says she told her colleagues at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, which runs the seasonal outdoor market. From her official vantage point at the market, standing behind a table in the middle of a rectangle of booths manned by oyster and vegetable farmers, cheesemakers, spice merchants, coffee roasters and bakers, she’d seen every manner of bad behavior, both from the four-legged attendees who lifted their legs on everything from tablecloths to coolers to the booths, and from the humans at the other end of their leashes.

Just the week before, as the market drew to a close, she said a co-worker called her attention to “a giant pile of dog poop” left in the middle of the market. A paper bag was lying next to it, as if signaling a right intention undermined by the wrong material.

Starting October 6, all dogs but those belonging to vendors will be banned from the market at Crystal Spring, which according to the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, is believed to be the first outdoor market of the approximately 120 in the state to say no to dogs.

“I am not aware of any that prohibit customers from bringing dogs,” said Hanne Tierney, the chair of the federation’s board, as well as the chairman of farmers markets in Portland and Waterville.

But there is certainly debate. Tierney said in an email that customer surveys show that people “feel strongly on both sides of the issue.”

In Brunswick, the issue has been discussed before. “For 19 years,” Angela Twitchell, the executive director of the land trust, said ruefully. “As long as the market has been there (at Crystal Spring).” They’ve tried signage, outlining the rules – including leashes and keeping your dog out of the vendors’ booths – and gentle in-person persuasion.

“We have talked to people about it,” Twitchell said. “We have had board members and volunteers at the market handing out little cards when we have seen misbehaving dogs and owners.”

But between dog “quarrels” as the land trust sweetly describes it, small children being scared by big dogs and the issue of defecation and urination – along with related food safety issues – the market, which is overseen by 19 board members, felt the tipping point was reached this summer.

“It was getting worse,” Twitchell said. “The board felt it was becoming a safety concern.”

To read the full story, click here.

Mushroom Foray Fun

On the last day of August, Louis Giller of North Spore Mushroom Company joined a group of eager foragers at Bradley Pond Farm Preserve.  Louis started the program by introducing three different types of edible wild mushrooms that we should look for in the forest: chicken of the woods, chanterelles, and black trumpets. He talked about look-alike mushrooms that may be dangerous and responsible foraging techniques. Collecting and eating wild mushrooms is not to be taken lightly!

Before setting off on the trail, Louis made sure to remind participants of the Leave No Trace principles, something that all foragers should remember when walking through the woods.  Although a few of them didn’t apply to the foray (I hoped we wouldn’t need a fire…), it doesn’t hurt to refresh on the rules of the wild!

The Seven Leave No Trace Principles
  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
  • Respect wildlife.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

We started out hoping to cover the Upper Loop Trail and the Perimeter Trail, although with so much wandering around, it became clear shortly after setting out that we would not be able to cover that much ground. Looking so deeply at each square foot of forest takes a lot of time!

And take our time, we did. We looked at every bit of the ground, hoping for bright orange colors (of chicken of the woods and chanterelles) and dark black or brown (black trumpets). Although we came up short in chicken of the woods and black trumpets, we found a few beautiful patches of chanterelles. Although we weren’t searching for them, we found some old man of the woods, another edible mushroom.

The dry weather over the last couple weeks stunted the typical mushroom-boom of late-summer, but we still had a great time learning from Louis and we all left with a big handful of oyster mushrooms provided by our friends at North Spore.

Thank you, Louis!

BTLT in the News, “Head of Tide Park connects Topsham to river’s offerings”

“Head of Tide Park connects Topsham to river’s offerings”

August 8, 2018

Looking to run in the woods or go for a paddle? Check out this article in The Coastal Journal that highlights the great running trails and water opportunities at Head of Tide Park.

The recent opening of Head of Tide Park is the culmination of a 12-year process to enhance the beauty, acquire land, and create a recreation area unique to Topsham. The work of the town and community organizations resulted in the town’s newest summer attraction.

“It really was a community effort,” said Parks and Recreation Director Pam Leduc. “It’s amazing when you look back at what it was and then now the finished product.”

The 12-acre park has a history of bustling activity, with a saw mill and then feldspar mill once standing on the land. Neglected apartment buildings made way for serenity and the gentle splash of a waterfall at the park.
Its history, however, is still a part of the landscape, as anyone passing by on Cathance Road can see the unmistakable ball mill.

While exploring the trails and nature of the park, signs have been installed to further pay tribute to the land, dating back to the tribes of the Abenakis. Leduc is most excited for residents and visitors in Topsham to have a place to connect with the river.

“It’s a nice quiet place to go for a picnic or kayaking,” said Leduc. “The Cathance itself is very mysterious.”

Runners will also enjoy what the new community get-away has to offer. The park has a trailhead that connects to more than seven miles of trails.

 

To read the rest of the story, click here.

 

BTLT in the News, “Head of Tide Park, and the 12-year saga of how it came to be”

“Head of Tide Park, and the 12-year saga of how it came to be”

July 1, 2018

Angela Twitchell and Pam LeDuc joined Mary Pols at Head of Tide Park to delve into the details of the newly opened park in Topsham.

Unless they are avid readers of the local land trust’s newsletter, the picnickers would be unlikely to know it took 12 years, at least 11 funders, multiple land purchases, easements granted by neighbors, rounds of grant writing and applications, and coordination among federal, state and local agencies – including the local fire department – to make it happen. Head of Tide Park looks like it has been part of the Topsham landscape forever, but it has been officially open only for a month.

How it came to be is a classic tale of American land conservation, a lot of patience and a vision to see beyond mildewed buildings and into a day like this one, where a family is picnicking, a man on a bicycle stops to sit in the shade, another reads a sign explaining the history of the place and two women launch a kayak to head upstream, into what had been secret to many – the beauty of a place where the tides from Merrymeeting Bay push deep into the land to meet the fresh water of the Cathance River.

Water cascades over rocks where the Cathance River meets Merrymeeting Bay at the Head of Tide Park in Topsham. It took 12 years to carve The town’s first waterfront park. Now the whole park is owned by Topsham, with a conservation easement held by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. Staff photos by Gregory Rec

To read the rest of the story, click here.