On February 10, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust teamed up with Six Rivers NEMBA, Midcoast Conservancy, and the Merrymeeting Wheelers for a group fat tire mountain bike ride at Neptune Woods. Over 40 people attended and many ended up at the Brews for a Cause Fundraiser to benefit BTLT hosted by Flight Deck Brewing on Brunswick Landing.
Patrick Gabrion posted about the ride on the cycling blog, Pedal 2 Page, covering the event.
I heard one participant say, “I love these trails,” and that was the sentiment expressed by many others. Here’s my take on the four miles of loops:
* Well groomed and the abundance of trees kept icy conditions to a minimum * Wooden bridges, not too many and short, were wide enough that they didn’t create freak-out moments * Well marked * Ample parking * Despite the occasional plane taking off at the nearby airport, the wooded area was quiet and peaceful
BTLT reached out to Six Rivers NEMBA to run Sunday’s ride. In the end, the event represented a collaboration between BTLT, Six Rivers, the Merrymeeting Wheelers and the Midcoast Conservancy, which provided 20 fat bikes to loan to participants.
“The number of participants was staggering,” said Lawrence Kovacs, president of Six Rivers NEMBA.
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust have been working together to conserve Woodward Point, an 87-acre property with over 2 miles of shorefront and plentiful opportunities for recreation. Now, with the help of the Brunswick Town Council, we are closer than ever to achieving our goal of conserving this very special property.
We have both lived in the Brunswick-Topsham area for decades and have chosen to build our careers here, raise our children here, and participate in the civic life of our community through municipal committees and the support of many local nonprofits and community groups. We love this area and are proud to call it home, but we have never been more proud to be members of this community than we were last Thursday evening when the Brunswick Town Council voted unanimously to contribute $150,000 toward the conservation of the 87-acre Woodward Point property. If conserved by Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) and Brunswick Topsham Land Trust (BTLT), this property will offer 2 miles of shore frontage on the New Meadows River and Woodward Cove in East Brunswick and will create ample opportunities for free outdoor recreation, water access, nature-based education as well as the protection of natural resources including some of Brunswick’s most productive clam flats.
This vote was a shining example of how our community can unite by working together for common goals—and an example of how the land holds potential to bring us together. Our Town Council (representing diverse political viewpoints) found common ground for the common good.
The Times Record covered the growing trend of fat biking last week and mentioned our upcoming event on February 10.
Curious about trying it out for yourself? Join us this Sunday at Neptune Woods on Brunswick Landing for a group ride led by Six Rivers NEMBA. For registrants without bikes, Midcoast Conservancy who will bring 20 fat bikes to loan out. There is still space available for this FREE event. Click HERE to register today!
A growing group of locals are hoping to stay fit on fat bikes this winter, even as the offroad trails they traverse are covered with snow and ice.
Fat bikes are made for off-road terrain, designed with over-sized tires to handle unstable trails and snow.
Increasing trail options and growing interest in local biking options has led to many in the cycling community getting off the road and into the woods all year. Lee Huston, the former owner of Center Street Cycles in downtown Brunswick, noticed the shift while he owned the shop.
“Right now, everybody is riding in the woods,” he said.
One motivator for riding off-road is a growing fear of being struck by a distracted driver, Huston said.
That fear may be well-founded. According to a recent report in the Portland Press Herald, the Maine Department of Public Safety estimates that distracted driving is a factor in up to 40 percent of the 35,000 annual crashes last year.
“A lot of people are afraid to ride on the road,” Huston said, “but people are also a lot more nature-oriented … .”
Huston credits groups like the Merrymeeting Wheelers and the New England Mountain Bike Association Six Rivers chapter for keeping the community active.
“Every week we’ve had a fat bike ride with 20 to 25 people,” said Six Rivers President Lawrence Kovacs. “It’s brought people out in freezing temperatures. We’ve had night rides. It’s really exploded in recent years.”
This February, you can help Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust win big with the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation’s Community Matters More Program.
The top two vote-getting organizations in each region will receive $5,000 and the top nine of write-in vote recipients we will receive $1,000. With that amount of money, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust could improve signage, provide more programs and outreach to disadvantaged communities, improve stewardship on our trails, and more!
Please help us win by writing in Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust for Cumberland County or Sagadahoc County today! Voting ends on February 28, so please spread the word and help BTLT strengthen our community through conservation with the help of the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation.
The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation believes in giving back to our communities. And we believe that by focusing on the needs that matter most to our neighbors and friends we matter more in the daily lives of our fellow community members.
In March, the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation will give more than $140,000 to 55 local nonprofit organizations. We are looking to you, our community, to assist us in deciding how to best distribute these funds. Cast your vote today for your favorite nonprofits!
February is here, and although we are inching toward warmer months, we still have a long time until we swap our Bean Boots for flip flops. For some of us, that means an exciting mix of weekend trips for skiing or snowshoeing, but for others, it might take an extra effort to get out the door this season.
We get it! It’s tough to stay motivated when it’s -5 degrees without the windchill. But even though it’s cold, for our minds and bodies, it’s best to stay active through every season.
With this blog post and guidance from our Wellness Resource, we hope to give you a little extra motivation and some tips for staying active this winter.
Dress for the elements. The great Sir Ranulph Fiennes said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing,” and we couldn’t agree more. Stay away from cotton, as it will wick away your body heat if it is exposed to moisture. Fleece and wool are my personal favorites, but polyester layers will keep you warm, too. Check out local secondhand and thrift stores for great deals on these pricier garments.
Layer, layer, layer! Have you ever walked outside with your warmest coat on and a t-shirt underneath? If your coat that’s rated for -15 degrees is too hot for you but the t-shirt just won’t suffice, you’ll be caught in a sticky situation. That’s why when you’re dressing for an outdoor adventure, you should always dress in layers. A good idea is to start with your lightest one and build up from there, knowing that as your heart rate goes up, you’ll probably stuff some layers in your backpack. Pro-Tip: avoid multiple layers with zippers as they can bunch up and chafe.
Cover up! Balaclavas or Buff® Neck Gaiters cover up your neck and face, preventing sensitive skin from the elements, sunburn, frost nip, and frostbite. They’re a great investment for the winter, but I even use my thinner Buff® garments sea kayaking in the summertime as extra sun protection. Bring gloves, too! Even if you don’t put them on to start out, it’s always nice to have the option for a spontaneous snowball fight with friends.
Stay hydrated. Keep water accessible so you’re more likely to drink it. Just like hiking in the summertime, your mind and body perform better when hydrated. I prefer to keep a bladder in my backpack so I don’t have to keep unscrewing a lid, but make sure you take sips every now and then or the hose might freeze up on you!
Eat up! Avoid hangry situations by keeping healthy snacks in your pockets when you go on adventures in cold weather. Some favorites of mine are Larabars, homemade peanut butter energy balls, beef jerky, and dried, unsulfured papaya.No matter the season, make sure that any waste you produce is put in a ZIPPED pocket. Remember that most litter is unintentional and do your best to prevent it by being proactive.
Keep your heart-rate up. You’ll stay warmer if you are producing heat through the activity you’re doing. Try to avoid activities that will drastically increase and then decrease your heart-rate if you’re not used to it. Producing lots of body heat (or sweat) followed by periods of stagnation can be uncomfortable and at worst, can open yourself up to cold-related injuries like frost nip, frost bite, and hypothermia. Keeping a steady heart-rate is best.
Have fun! Try things out, meet new people, go to new places. You’ll be amazed by how much fun you have when you give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the coldest months of the year. You’ll enjoy the quiet of the trail, see wildlife, and enjoy new activities all while doing something great for your body and your mind.
Find local events and outings. Even if you don’t want to commit to joining a group, you can look to local organizations for led hikes and outings that are open to the public. The Great Maine Outdoor Weekend is a fantastic opportunity to check out local trails, meet new people, and enjoy a wide breadth of recreational opportunities in the state. Join us at the Cathance River Nature Preserve for our Great Maine Outdoor Weekend Snowshoe/Hike Outings with AMC on February 8 and February 15 or at Neptune Woods for a group fat tire mountain bike ride with Six Rivers NEMBA followed by a Brews for a Cause Fundraiser at Flight Deck Brewing on February 10. All upcoming BTLT events and outings can be found here.
Find activities for less. It’s no secret that winter is the slow season in Maine. During the summer, you can hardly find a parking spot from Biddeford to Bath, but the winter can sometimes seem like a ghost town. Unsurprisingly, lots of businesses put forth an effort to get locals in the door. It might take some searching, but deals like Bath Skate Park’s monthly Millennials Night are out there! If you prefer to go downhill, Liftopia.com frequently offers discounts on lift tickets to local mountains. Beyond the deals, there are fun and inexpensive ways to stay active, like visiting a public skating rink in Brunswick or Bath, going for a cross-country ski on the trails at Crystal Spring Farm, or enjoying a leisurely snowshoe at Bradley Pond Farm Preserve.
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is energized by the Brunswick Town Council’s decision last Thursday to commit to support the Woodward Point Project! This unanimous decision is incredibly exciting as it puts us even closer to reaching our March 31 deadline.
The Times Record recently covered this decision on the front page,
The town council last week unanimously backed a request for $150,000 to help the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust complete the funding for conservation of Woodward Point on the New Meadows River.
Councilor David Watson said his first question when evaluating an agenda item is, “Is this good for Brunswick?” The conservation was decidedly “good for Brunswick,” he said.
Councilor Steve Walker recused himself from the vote at Thursday night’s meeting due to a conflict of interest with his position as a project manager at Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a move which received a “thank you” from chair John Perreault and a quick round of applause from other councilors.
“We’ve seen an incredible outpouring of community support for conserving Woodward Point and opening it to the public,” Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust President Angela Twitchell said in a recent press release. “Funding from the Town would provide a critical lift in our push to the finish line. The project will bring numerous benefits to Town residents and visitors, but only if we can close the funding gap by the end of March.”
In partnership with the Brunswick-Topsham trust, Maine Coast Heritage Trust wants to raise $3.5 million by March 31 to purchase the land and provide for its long-term management as a public preserve.
Last night, the Brunswick Town Council voted unanimously to contribute $150,000 toward the conservation of Woodward Point using funds previously set aside for water access needs. We are so thankful for this strong support from the Town Council and are eager to advance work on this exciting project in partnership with Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
Woodward Point has over 2 miles of coastline, features extensive open rolling meadowlands, pine and hardwood forest, a freshwater pond, and several good access points to the water. Now, with the help of the Brunswick Town Council, we are one step closer to creating a public access preserve with significant ecological value and excellent outdoor recreation and education opportunities for all ages and interests, ranging from fishing and kayaking to hiking and swimming.
We have just a few more months to raise the remaining funds by our deadline on March 31. If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll consider making a donation to help get us to the finish line.
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust have joined together to conserve Woodward Point and are calling on the town of Brunswick to help preserve the property consisting of 96 acres and 2 miles of shoreline. The Times Record recently published three articles regarding developments in this ongoing project.
See below for previews and click each title to read the full article.
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust are asking the town of Brunswick to help complete the funding for conservation of Woodward Point on the New Meadows River.
The town council will consider the $150,000 request Jan. 24, according to a joint news release from the trusts.
“We’ve seen an incredible outpouring of community support for conserving Woodward Point and opening it to the public,” Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust President Angela Twitchell said in the release. “Funding from the Town would provide a critical lift in our push to the finish line. The project will bring numerous benefits to Town residents and visitors, but only if we can close the funding gap by the end of March.”
I made a fabulous discovery a few weeks ago. On a bright and icy cold day, I bundled up and headed over to Woodward Point in east Brunswick, eager to see for myself what Angela Twitchell, executive director of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, had told me was “an amazing place that almost no one knows about.” She was right. The view from the parking area was stunning, and it only got better on my hour-long exploration. Guided by Keith Fletcher from Maine Coast Heritage Trust, I crossed rolling hayfields, passed a stream and a large freshwater pond, poked around in the pine and hardwood forests, and stood in awe at the shimmering shoreline. There weren’t many birds to see on that cold day, but I had a lovely look at a porcupine sequestered high in a White Pine.
For the past two years, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) and Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) have been working in partnership to preserve 89 acres on Woodward Point. With two peninsulas and more than 2 miles of shoreline on the New Meadows River, the property is one of the last remaining undeveloped waterfront parcels of its size in southern Maine. It’s also is one of the last large coastal parcels available to conserve in Brunswick. Woodward Point will be a public preserve, available for outdoor recreation, water access, and education. It will also protect an ecologically significant area. Of particular note are its shellfish flats, which are among the most productive in the state.
On Jan. 24, Brunswick’s Town Council will consider making the town a partner in the Woodward Point Project. That project nears both goal and deadline for raising the $3.5 million needed to purchase nearly 90 acres of shoreline that encompasses much of a longtime, saltwater cattle farm along the New Meadows River. The farm’s open fields, mixed habitat, good condition and more than two miles of shoreline are unparalleled in southern Maine.
And thanks to the cooperative work of Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Brunswick Topsham Land Trust and their many supporters, we, the public, are within sniffing distance of forever access to this special land.
If these two partners in preservation can raise the 300,000 remaining dollars needed by April 1st, they will be able to complete the purchase of Woodward Point and begin the work of imagining its public future. Which, by land and from the sea, will include you.
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust have joined together to conserve Woodward Point and are calling on the town of Brunswick to help preserve the property consisting of 96 acres and 2 miles of shoreline.
Two conservation trusts want the town to contribute $150,000 to help preserve 96 acres at Woodward Point.
Their goal is to raise $3.5 million by the end of March. The conservation effort launched last summer still needs $340,000, the organizations said in a press release.
The Town Council is scheduled to take up the request from the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust at its Jan. 24 meeting.
Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Program agreed to provide $570,000 to preserve the property. The state’s Land for Maine’s Future program awarded $400,000 for the acquisition, and 75 individuals have made donations.
Woodward Point, near Cook’s Corner, includes more than 2 miles of shore frontage on the New Meadows River and Woodward Cove, and would offer the public opportunities to walk, swim, fish, or paddle.
Thanks to the generous support of our more than 1,000 members, 2018 was a busy year for the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. From land conservation and stewardship to mushroom forays and student-grown produce for MCHPP, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust focused our efforts in 2018 on the wellness of our community and organization.
Head of Tide Park
After 12 years of collaboration between BTLT, the town of Topsham, and many other individuals and organizations, Head of Tide Park was conserved and made into the first waterfront park in Topsham. Spanning 12 acres of land on both banks of the Cathance River, Head of Tide Park’s amenities include hand-carry boat access, a riverfront trail connecting to BTLT’s Cathance River Nature Preserve, and a picnic area to bird-watch, fish, swim, and just enjoy being outdoors in a beautiful setting – and all of this is open to everyone!
This is just one of several projects that created or improved public access to the outdoors for the people of our region in 2018. Others include conservation of the Smart parcel behind Riverview Cemetery in Topsham, which permanently protects a large section of the recently built Topsham River Trail; construction of a bridge connecting BTLT’s Chase Reserve trail to the Freeport Conservation Trust’s Antoinette Jackman Trail thanks to the hard work of Eagle Scout Sam Hughes; and completion of a trail on BTLT’s Woodward Cove property in East Brunswick that ensures public access to these productive clam flats.
Our most recently completed land conservation project is Neptune Woods at Brunswick Landing and its great new mountain bike and multi-use trails opened in October. No project better exemplifies BTLT’s proud history of partnering with other organizations – in this case, Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, 6 Rivers New England Mountain Bike Association, and Mid Coast Hospital – to create access to the out-of-doors for the people of our region.
We can’t leave the list of land conservation successes in 2018 without mentioning the exciting Woodward Point property which, when complete, will conserve nearly 90 acres and two miles of shorefront on Woodward Cove and the New Meadow River in Brunswick. While this project (being done in a wonderful partnership with Maine Coast Heritage Trust) is ongoing and still in need of significant funding to be completed, we count the progress we have made to date as one of our most important accomplishments of 2018. Click the photo at left to learn more about this project.
Perryman Carrot Harvest
BTLT focused on building wellness in our community by protecting clean water and open spaces with land conservation, but also through supporting healthy lifestyles, promoting self-care, growing healthy food for MCHPP, and providing opportunities for community engagement with the land throughout the year. To name a few of these wellness-focused accomplishments in 2018, we brought a series of trail runs to the community, collaborated with Jade Integrated Health for forest bathing walks on BTLT’s Crystal Spring Farm trails, redoubled our efforts to bring SNAP users to our Farmers’ Market, brought Coffin and Mt. Ararat Middle School students to the Tom Settlemire Community Garden, built raised beds at Perryman Village and brought Perryman Village children to the garden, participated in the Merrymeeting Food Council and Merrymeeting Gleaners, and grew produce for MCHPP at the Community Garden. Beyond that, we created the Southern Mid Coast Trail Guide in collaboration with other local and trusts and towns, updated the Brunswick Outdoors Map, and created an online wellness resource that promotes staying active throughout the year with an interactive map of activities in our area and matching spreadsheet for each season.
When the Land Trust conserves a property, it also takes on a commitment – in perpetuity – for responsible stewardship of the land. It’s a weighty responsibility, and BTLT has worked hard to build a financially and institutionally sustainable organization capable of fulfilling it. Our national accreditation in 2012 and 2018 re-accreditation recognize BTLT as a land trust that has its ducks in a row, both organizationally and financially.
In recent years, BTLT has achieved a lot and it has been accomplished under the leadership of Brad Babson, who in 2018 wrapped up seven years as president of BTLT’s board. We at BTLT have always known how much Brad’s vision and perseverance have done for our organization and our community. We were extremely gratified to see Brad recognized for these qualities in the wider community as a recipient of Camden National Bank’s 2018 Leaders & Luminaries award.
All of this and more was made possible by your generous contributions! We thank all of our members and supporters for the successes of 2018 and we look forward to the possibilities that await us in 2019 to conserve special places and connect the people of our region to them.
Find out more about all of the projects mentioned above at www.btlt.org.