By Sandy Stott
December 6, 2019
A wide-ranging group of stakeholders from the Merrymeeting Bay area are getting together later this month to discuss ways to address the local farm labor shortage.
The Merrymeeting Food Council and University of Maine Cooperative Extension are hosting a roundtable Monday, Dec. 16, to discuss farm labor models, share resources and build a network focused on short and long-term solutions to a shortage of workers in the industry.
The council, based in Brunswick, represents 14 towns that surround Merrymeeting Bay, including Richmond, Dresden, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Woolwich, Bath, Topsham, Brunswick, West Bath, Arrowsic, Westport, Harpswell, Phippsburg and Georgetown. The group is a collaborative network of farms, fisheries, businesses, nonprofits, government and individuals working together to advance the food system in the region.
Planning partners for the event besides the food council include area farmers and representatives of Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative; Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; the Maine Department of Labor; Land for Good; Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
To read the rest of the recent article, click here.
To register for the Roundtable or learn more about the Merrymeeting Food Council, click here.
The Heath Loop, a beloved walk by many along the perimeter of the heath at Cathance River Nature Preserve, will be closed for the winter by Preserve partners Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT), Cathance River Education Alliance (CREA) and Seacoast Management. The closure comes in response to concerns about hiker safety, as the loop hosts a large number of bog bridges whose condition has deteriorated since they were first installed over 15 years ago.
Trails at the Preserve are maintained by BTLT in partnership with CREA and Seacoast Management. Despite replacement of 15 boards on the Heath Trail last year, the partners have been unable to keep up with the pace at which bog bridging around the Heath is failing. The wet spring appears to have accelerated board failure, and the need to obtain state environmental permits for large-scale boardwalk replacement at the Heath is a factor. Other maintenance issues at the Preserve, including the efforts to re-route and sign areas of the Preserve’s trail system affected by development of Sycamore Way Extension, have also strained our trail maintenance budget and capacity.
Hikers will be advised to proceed at their own risk over the winter, and people with balance or mobility limitations are strongly discouraged from using the trail. The east side of the Heath Loop will be reopened next year after the trail has been made safe for passage. If you have questions, or would like to help with Heath Loop boundary marking this winter or board replacements in the spring, please contact Margaret, BTLT’s Stewardship Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Michael Perry
November 10, 2019
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust recently conserved Woodward Point Preserve in Brunswick. This property is open to the public and has fantastic water access; not only can you enjoy the view of the New Meadows River from land, but you can paddle around the point as well.The Portland Press Herald’s Michael Perry recently wrote about a November paddle around Woodward Point complete with tips and tricks on how to maximize your time on the water.
We basked in the mid-morning sun and gazed down the New Meadows River toward the brilliant yellows of maples and golden browns of oaks at the end of Foster Point. We heard the voices of a couple coming down through the woods to the shore. The husband summed up the spot perfectly, “a good place to bring a picnic.”
The preserve is a recent collaboration of Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, made possible by the generosity of the Cook-Ellis family who farmed the property for many years. Nearly two miles of clearly marked trails meander through green meadows and through pine, hemlock and oak forests. It seemed odd walking through a preserve with the call of chickadees, blue jays and crows mixing with the sound of gulls. One of the meadow trails swings by a picturesque farm pond displaying artistic reflections of the pines bordering the pond. The white flowers of yarrow mixed with the yellow of dandelions and purple of clover. We even found a few strawberry blossoms. Was it really November?
To read the rest of the recent article in the Portland Press Herald, click here.
By Lloyd Van Lunen, BTLT Board Vice President
I moved here in 1982 from Dover-Foxcroft, where I had lived for three years and where my opportunities for hiking and cross-country skiing were just about unlimited in every direction from my house, though there was little formal trail development. It took many years after relocating to increase my knowledge of similar opportunities in this area. Certainly some of this knowledge could come from Delorme’s Maine Atlas by visiting the state parks and other features on its maps, but most of it came from word-of-mouth from friends. By the year 2000, I knew of about 25 places I could go to for a hike or to ski including Audubon’s Newman Preserve and Bates’s Morse Mountain Preserve, as well as the state parks. Ironically, one of the first places I discovered was Crystal Spring Farm’s trails to ski on long before BTLT protected this special place.
I joined the BTLT board in 1995 and, among may other things, increased my awareness of land trust work in our area and the hiking outlets land trusts provided. Still there was no single comprehensive source of information for our area. Then, three years ago, I discovered MaineTrailFinder.com and about one year ago MaineByFoot.com and WOW! There were so many new places even a trail seeker like me didn’t know about. Spend some time on these two great resources and you will discover that our area of southern and central midcoast Maine has more hiking opportunities than any other part of the state, except for Acadia National Park. The only major piece missing is the area’s snowmobile trails, which can provide great places for fall walks and for cross-country skiing.
BTLT’s own trails are well covered on these two sites, but so are many more trails provided by other land trusts, town parks, Maine Audubon, the Nature Conservancy, and many others. Check them out and discover even more of what this part of Maine has to offer.
By Hannah LaClaire
September 30, 2019
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust celebrated the opening of Woodward Point Preserve on Saturday, September 28th. This new preserve is now open to the public, boasting 87 acres of forests, fields, meadows, and over two miles of shoreline along two peninsulas on the New Meadows River in Brunswick.
Countless porcupines, bobolinks, shellfish and butterflies have enjoyed Brunswick’s Woodward Point for years, and now the town’s human residents can enjoy the area’s natural beauty as well.
More than 100 people turned out to explore the 87 acres of sprawling meadows, forested trails and rocky coastline to help the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust officially open the preserve and celebrate the culmination of a two-year effort to conserve the parcel.
The trusts raised $3.5 million to purchase the land and provide for its long-term management as a public preserve, including $150,000 from Brunswick in January, a $400,000 grant from the state’s Land for Maine’s Future Program, and $570,000 from a federal Coastal Wetlands grant.
That access to has been touted as one of the particular benefits of the property. While Brunswick’s coastline isn’t exactly composed of white sandy beaches, the land trusts hope the preserve will be a place where families can come swim, kayak, fish and enjoy the water, said Caitlin Gerber, a land steward for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.The land includes roughly 1.5 miles of trails and more than 2 miles of shore frontage on the New Meadows River and Woodward Cove that features four places with water access. Dogs are allowed in the preserve and must be leashed.
To read the rest of the recent article in the Portland Press Herald, click here.