By Lydia Coburn, BTLT Communications Coordinator
The sweetest little oasis just off a major road, Little River Preserve is one of my new favorite properties. This week, BTLT Land Steward George Jutras met me in the parking lot off the side of Lewiston Road in Topsham. At first glance you can see glimpses of the river through the trees and a bit of a trail. You hear the sound of cars rushing by on their way to and from Lisbon.
George and I chatted by the side of his truck as he got his fishing gear in order – a dry fly, his pole, and extra supplies in his Flow Fold fanny pack. He told me this was most likely his favorite BTLT property; he looked excited to be there.
As we walked along the trail, we chatted about invasive species, the various reasons people use the trail, and how/why the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife stock the river. George explained that about 500 brook trout and 300 brown trout were released into the Little River back in April. He suspected they’d all been fished out by now, but he wanted to try his luck anyway. As I watched him cast his line in the still water, I thought about what makes our “favorite places” our “favorite places.” In George’s opinion, it requires a repetition of positive experiences in the same space. Though, plenty of folks find themselves somewhere new for the first time and it instantly becomes one of their “favorite places.” Regardless of “favorite place” status, I asked him why we protect this relatively small parcel of land. George explained that the Little River is a Class B river – not quite as damaged as the Class C Androscoggin, but by protecting this property, and not letting it fall any lower than class B, we’re contributing to the conservation of other waterways in the area.
As we continued further down the trail, the sounds of cars faded, and the pleasant sounds of the trickling river and chirping birds filled our ears. “It’s one of those properties where you can feel far away from civilization, but you’re not,” George said quietly. Sun shone through the tree canopy, lush green moss covered the rocks, a plethora of mushrooms sprinkled the forest floor, the river was serene. We looked up and saw a Great Blue Heron standing peacefully on a rock, also enjoying the quiet moment.
It goes without saying, I highly recommend a visit to the Little River Preserve. Open dawn to dusk, leashed dogs allowed. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, we did not catch any fish – perhaps next Spring!