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 email@example.com.