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.
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