By Cora Spelke, BTLT Summer Intern
I have heard many stories about how polluted and disgusting the Androscoggin River used to be from my mom who grew up in Lewiston. Thirty years later we live in Topsham just under 20 miles southwest of Lewiston, on the very same river. While the water still has a long way to go, the river and the surrounding land can now be used for numerous recreational activities such as hiking, boating, and even swimming.
A lot has changed for the Androscoggin River thanks to the Clean Water Act and organizations like the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT). Androscoggin Woods, one of BTLT’s properties, is 53 acres of conserved land next to and around the river. The property is easily found just off of Lewiston Road, and there is a parking lot directly next to the trail entrance and trail head. As you enter into the woods there is a well-maintained trail that is surrounded by trees, ferns, and other local flora. The trails are clearly marked and bring you along a mile long loop (River Loop Trail) that walks directly next to the river. There is also a shorter cross-cut trail that runs through the center of the loop (Woods Trail). Along the loop there are multiple different water viewpoints so that you can easily walk to the edge of the water to look at the clear, still water. At one of the viewpoints the water is covered in lily pads and is a great place to watch for wildlife.
When I arrived at the first viewpoint, which is one of the water access highlights on the trail map, there were two women wading in the water on the very hot July day. Thanks to the BTLT, the water by the trail will be conserved, and available for recreation like this forever. To know that this land will be protected perpetually makes me feel excited for the future of our local woods and waters. If you like to enjoy peace and quiet in the woods with the beautiful backdrop of the river, then you would love the quick easy trails that are located on the Androscoggin Woods property. I highly recommend that you find a time to come out and enjoy the trails!
Land Trust staff and volunteers have been working hard in the hot and humid conditions this summer to re-open the trails at Bradley Pond Farm. Conserved by a conservation easement in 1991, the privately owned Bradley Pond Farm was the Land Trust’s first public access easement property and has been home to well used trails for nearly 30 years. The trails were temporarily closed in late 2020 due to the pandemic and trail user issues. Since then, the Land Trust and property landowners have been working together to redesign the trail system to avoid low lying wet areas and places where the trail was located near the private residence and other off limit areas. The redesigned trail system features a new consolidated parking area and three new sections of trail that preserve many aspects of the original trail user experience including walking through the quiet woods, along the farm fields, and looking out over the wetland shoreline to Bradley Pond Farm.
Trail building will continue through the summer with the anticipated re-opening of the trails to the public this fall. Please visit this page for updates on the current status of the trail.
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust and are fundraising to create a level, half-mile trail at Brunswick’s popular Woodward Point Preserve. Join the effort and make a gift today—every dollar supports making this beautiful preserve more accessible to everyone in our community!
We want community members of all abilities to enjoy the beauty of Woodward Point.
Our goal is to build an accessible trail and parking to facilitate access for all visitors, including people who need a level surface to walk, use a wheelchair, or push a stroller.
To do this we need to raise $132,000.
Trails create active, healthy, and happy communities. Everyone deserves the enjoyment of this special place!
How this place became open to the public
Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust conserved Woodward Point in 2019, realizing the previous landowners’ dream of permanent protection for the property’s open space, scenic beauty, and extensive ecological values.
Woodward Point is a much-loved outdoor resource
Just minutes from downtown Brunswick, Woodward Point is a cherished destination for walking, nature observation, kayaking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Trails cut across several large fields, through woods, and down to the shore. Stone steps at four locations provide access to the water—including at a hand-carry boat launch site not far from the parking lot.
When you give today you will help:
- Establish a level, half-mile accessible trail with a stone dust surface;
- Make Woodward Point safe and accessible to more people;
- Expand local outdoor opportunities for people of all abilities.
Thank you for considering a gift to help us enhance this community preserve!
For more information, please contact:
Angela Twitchell, BTLT Executive Director: 207-729-7694 email@example.com
Seth Levy, MCHT Donor Engagement Officer: 207-607-4361 firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional project details:
Woodward Point Preserve was conserved with generous support from many individuals, the Town of Brunswick, the Land for Maine’s Future Program, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Wetlands Program.
Town/County: Brunswick, Cumberland County
Total Project cost: $132,000
By Margaret Gerber, BTLT Director of Stewardship
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust recognizes the many intersections that hunting and conservation share, as both require keen observation, and understanding and respect of the natural world. Hunting is an important cultural tradition that has provided sustenance for thousands of years to the people who call Maine home, and continues to provide food, play an important role in conservation, and connect people with nature.
Present day Maine is 94% privately owned with varying levels of public access, and traditional hunting access to land in the greater Brunswick, Bowdoin, and Topsham area is disappearing as ownership changes hands and land is developed.
Hunting is not only an important tradition in Maine, but an important management tool to protect farmers’ livelihoods. Deer can ravage crops overnight and create a significant burden for farmers, straining their finances, endangering the health safety standards of their fields, and costing them valuable time and labor.
Expanded bow archery season begins on September 11th and runs through December 11th, so next time you head out on the trails, remember to wear your blaze orange!
Below is some information for trail users to help ensure a safe visit to the few BTLT trails where bowhunting is allowed:
- Bowhunting only is currently allowed at Crystal Spring Farm, Tarbox Preserve, and Woodward Cove. Blaze orange vests can be found at the parking area kiosks for visitors to wear while on the trails and return after using.
- Hikers should wear blaze orange and exercise caution during hunting season (click here to find hunting season dates).
- Hunters who you encounter on trails will have their arrows in a quiver while traveling, making it impossible for an arrow to accidentally be fired.
- Please stay on marked trails and keep your dogs on leash – it is required on all BTLT trails all year long, and is especially important during hunting season to keep deer from being disturbed. There are fines if your dog is off leash and chases deer, so leash your dog or leave them at home during hunting season!
- Please note that hunting on Sundays is illegal in Maine.
- Bowhunters are not allowed to discharge an arrow within 75 feet of a trail and are made aware of the location of all trails on the property they are hunting.
Just in time for mud season, BTLT, Cathance River Education Alliance (CREA), and the Preserve landowner, Seacoast Management, are pleased to announce the limited re-opening of Cathance River Nature Preserve following its 2020 closure due to COVID19.
Initially, trails will be accessible only from the Ecology Center parking lot. The Cathance River and Highland Trails will be open as far south as the Rapids Trail. The Beaver and Barnes Leap Trails will also be open. The wearing of masks in outdoor public spaces is still required, so please keep trails safe and open by following this rule.
To ensure a smooth re-opening and make sure that trails can remain open, please do not use closed trails, unfinished re-routes, or closed parking areas.
Hiker Parking will remain closed until trail re-routes around the Sycamore Drive Ext development are complete. Once new bridges associated with trail re-routes are complete, all Preserve trails will open for use.
It is essential that Preserve visitors park only in designated parking areas, which are the Ecology Center parking lot and (when re-routes are complete) Hiker Parking. Most of the streets in Highland Green are not public ways and street parking is not allowed. Please park efficiently to maximize parking space and if parking lots are full, return another day. Check our TRAILS PAGE to find many other wonderful local hikes.
We are delighted to announce this news, but because it is mud season, we caution people to exercise restraint in use of the trails until things dry out. In the meantime, please follow best practice for hiking during mud season: wear waterproof footwear that can get muddy; walk through, not around, muddy areas to avoid extending the damage and widening the path more than necessary; hike early or late in the day when temps are cooler and the ground is firmer.
We thank you for your patience during the closure and look forward to seeing you on Preserve trails in the coming months!
As COVID-19 cases surge across the country and rise within our community this holiday season, we hope that you’ll join us in safely enjoying the outdoors by wearing a mask when on Land Trust trails.
Governor Mills’ November 4th Executive Order requires face coverings in all public settings, regardless of the ability to maintain physical distance. In the order, “public settings” include outdoor spaces such as parking lots and walkways. Given the high use that our trails have received this year, we are asking that folks do their part by wearing masks while outside on Land Trust trails to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.