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BTLT In the News: “A quick tide propels your paddle on the Lower Cathance River in Topsham”

A quick tide propels your paddle on the Lower Cathance River in Topsham

by Ron Chase, Outdoors Contributor, Bangor Daily News

To read the full article online, click here.

“The Cathance River in my hometown of Topsham provides a host of recreational opportunities.

The upper sector offers easy flatwater paddling. In the middle is one of the finest coastal whitewater creek runs in Maine, rated Class III/IV in difficulty by the American Whitewater Association. Below a waterfall at head of tide, several miles of forested wetlands follow to Merrymeeting Bay. There are hiking trails along its banks and fishing and bird watching are popular activities.

The Cathance has a rich history. Early Native Americans lived in settlements along the river and used it for transportation. Cathance or “Kathanis” probably meant “crooked” in the Abenaki language. As anyone who has paddled the river can attest, the name is appropriate as it roams circuitously throughout its 16.4-mile course. In 1715, European settlers built the first sawmill in Maine at the waterfall at head of tide, and it continued to operate well into the 20th century. In recent years, the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust partnered with the Town of Topsham to purchase and create Head of Tide Park next to the waterfall.

In the almost 30 years that my wife, Nancy, and I have lived in Topsham, we had never paddled the lower tidal sector of the Cathance. Both senior citizens, rectifying that omission was overdue. Only a Facebook message was required to convince our retired friends, Diane and John Stokinger, to join us. Since there are boat launch facilities at Head of Tide Park and Mailly Waterfront Park downriver in Bowdoinham, they were the obvious locations to begin and end our voyage.

Strong tidal currents are a factor when planning a paddle on lower Cathance. The tide was scheduled to rise for most of the day we chose for our excursion. Unlike prehistoric Native Americans, we had the option of selecting our direction of travel. Riding the tide upriver from Bowdoinham and finishing at Head of Tide Park was preferable. Ending at Head of Tide Park did have a disadvantage; a steep carry was required next to the waterfall.

Head of Tide Park is an outstanding facility. There is adequate parking, covered picnic tables and a public toilet. Our inspection of the hand-carry boat launch was encouraging; convenient metal stairs led up from the water.

We left a vehicle at the park and drove to Bowdoinham to launch. Flat water kayaks were our boats of choice; however, canoes or sea kayaks would also be suitable……”

To read the full article online, click here. 

 

BTLT In the News: “Land trust conserves Topsham’s Hideaway Farm property”

“Land trust conserves Topsham’s Hideaway Farm property” – Times Record

On June 30, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust conserved the Hideaway Farm property on the Cathance River in Topsham.

According to the trust, the property — previously owned by John Sczymecki — is significant because it abuts the conserved Robert Williams Preserve and will add an additional 1,000 feet of shorefront and 18 acres to this connected, conserved landscape.

To make this conservation effort possible, $138,000 was raised by June 30 to acquire and manage the property. The trust met its goal just before the closing deadline.

The town of Topsham, Merrymeeting Bay Trust, Davis Conservation Fund, John Sage Foundation and 70 individual donors supported the conservation effort.

“The Town of Topsham has a long history of working with BTLT to conserve natural resources and recreational opportunities along the Cathance River,” Topsham Parks and Recreation Director Pam Leduc said. “We were very happy to be able to help make the conservation of the Hideaway Farm property possible by contributing funds from our Open Space In lieu fund.

“These monies were generated from impacts on open space due to development and are set aside to be used for conservation and recreation purposes. We see the Hideaway Farm project as a great example of leveraging these dollars to conserve important habitat and create an opportunity for additional recreational trails and public access to the Cathance River.”

Over the course of 30 years, the trust has conserved more than 1,100 acres and 43,000 feet of riverfront along the Cathance River.

According to the land trust, the Hideaway Farm will enhance conservation efforts along the rivers that flow through Brunswick and Topsham into Merrymeeting Bay, including the Cathance River, around which the trust is trying to conserve the largely undeveloped area.

To view the article online, click here.

Hideaway Farm Property Successfully Conserved!

John Sczymecki, BTLT staff and Vice President at Hideaway Farm closing on 6/30/2022

This morning, we closed on the Hideaway Farm property on the Cathance River in Topsham. This property is especially significant because it abuts the previously conserved Robert Williams Preserve and will add an additional 1,000 feet of shore frontage and 18 acres to this connected, conserved landscape. Protecting the undeveloped shoreline of the Cathance River has been a major focus for us for three decades. In that time, we have conserved more than 1,100 acres and 43,000 feet of river frontage. 

When Hideaway Farm landowner, John Sczymecki, was ready to sell this special parcel, his desire was for it to remain undeveloped. We are grateful to Mr. Sczymecki for working with us to ensure that the property will be conserved to protect its special habitat and outdoor recreational values forever.

To make this conservation effort possible, $138,000 needed to be raised by June 30 to acquire and manage the property. The community responded enthusiastically, and the goal was met just before the closing deadline. Special thanks go out to the Town of Topsham, Merrymeeting Bay Trust, Davis Conservation Fund, John Sage Foundation, and 70 individual donors whose generous support made the conservation of Hideaway Farm possible.

The Topsham Conservation Commission (TCC) was an important partner in this project. The Land Trust and the Commission work together to conserve lands in Topsham that are identified as priorities in the Town’s Comprehensive and Natural Areas Plans. The TCC worked with Pam Leduc, Topsham’s Director of Parks and Recreation, to facilitate a donation to the project from the Town of Topsham. The Land Trust is incredibly grateful to Town staff and the Select Board for their support.

The Town of Topsham has a long history of working with BTLT to conserve natural resources and recreational opportunities along the Cathance River. We were very happy to be able to help make the conservation of the Hideaway Farm property possible by contributing funds from our Open Space In lieu fund. These monies were generated from impacts on open space due to development and are set aside to be used for conservation and recreation purposes. We see the Hideaway Farm project as a great example of leveraging these dollars to conserve important habitat and create an opportunity for additional recreational trails and public access to the Cathance River,” said Leduc.

The rivers that flow through Brunswick and Topsham into Merrymeeting Bay (including the Cathance River) are among BTLT’s highest priority conservation areas, in large part because Merrymeeting Bay has such tremendous ecological, economic, historic, and recreational value to our region. 

This parcel will significantly enhance existing conservation efforts in this important focus area, increasing the forested buffer and associated water quality protection for the Cathance River. The addition of this property to the matrix of conserved lands along the river will create new connections between conserved lands and increase the value of conserved habitat.  The location of this property — across from BTLT’s Tarbox Preserve and abutting the Robert Williams Preserve – is particularly important as we strives to conserve the largely undeveloped river corridor in this area.