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!