Category Archives: blog

History and Geology Walk

Saturday December 2nd at 10am
Hawkes Preserve, Gorham

Join the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust for a mid-Fall walk at the beautiful and peaceful Hawkes Preserve in Gorham. We will have three leaders and topics. Lindsay Spigel of the Maine Geological Survey will discuss evidence she has found of landslides in the area over the last 10,000 years; Don Wescott will talk about the history of the C & O Canal and Towpath and the logging legacy of the region; and Toby Jacobs will lead the group to the brand new bridge that the land trust staff and volunteers built this summer and fall.

Press Release: Regional Destination Expanded: Mill Brook Preserve North Open to the Public

PRESS RELEASE
October 21, 2017
Contact person: Rachelle Curran Apse, rachelle@prlt.org, 839-4633

Over 40 people joined City of Westbrook Mayor Mike Sanphy and the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust to celebrate the grand opening of Mill Brook Preserve North Saturday, October 21. This event marked the official expansion of the forever conserved land and trail system in Mill Brook Preserve in Westbrook.

Thanks to new land donations by Sue and Steve Cullinan and the City of Westbrook, Mill Brook Preserve is now 130 acres and has a 5-mile trail system free and open to the public for walking, hiking, trail running, and snowshoeing. Mill Brook Preserve is owned by the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust and there are four trailheads, the primary trailhead is now at the junction of Methodist Road and Route 302 in Westbrook. Click here for the trail map.

Steve and Sue Cullinan said “We always envisioned that someday many people could enjoy what we have been fortunate enough to own, a little piece of paradise. We are very happy that our land donation to the land trust, to expand Mill Brook Preserve, has come to fruition.”

City of Westbrook Mayor Mike Sanphy spoke at the ribbon cutting. “The City of Westbrook is proud to be partners with the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust in the expansion of Mill Brook Preserve because it forever provides residents public access to miles of forested trails and unique wildlife sightings in our community.”

“Mill Brook Preserve has now become a regional destination because the trail offers spectacular views of the largest migratory fish run from Casco Bay each spring. The expansion of Mill Brook Preserve means more people will be able to experience the diversity of wildlife attracted to the fish migration, like great blue herons, osprey, bald eagles and mink, all within Westbrook.” said Rachelle Curran Apse, Presumpscot Regional Land Trust Executive Director.

The official count for the alewife migration this year is in, with nearly 40,000 fish swimming through Mill Brook Preserve from Casco Bay to Highland Lake to spawn. The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust collaborates with the University of Southern Maine’s Environmental Science and Policy Professors Karen Wilson and Theo Willis each year to track the size of the fish run. Good news for wildlife in the region, this year the alewife run is about the same size as last year.

Toby Jacobs, the Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator for the land trust, stated, “We have added 1.5 more miles of trail and opened the new primary trailhead at the junction of Methodist Road and Route 302. Volunteers were critical in helping to build the trail expansion this

year. The great news is that this Mill Brook Preserve North opening is only phase two and we expect to expand the preserve and trail system again next year to the south.”

The Mill Brook Preserve North expansion was only possible with the support of Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, City of Westbrook, Westbrook Environmental Improvement Corporation, Westbrook Recreation & Conservation Commission, Steve and Sue Cullinan, volunteers, and land trust members.

BACKGROUND:

Mill Brook is about five miles long, beginning in Highland Lake and ending in the Presumpscot River. Most of those five miles the brook winds through pristine forests all within the City of Westbrook.

Presumpscot Regional Land Trust  is a non-profit organization that supports healthy lands, waters, wildlife, and people across the Presumpscot River watershed through conservation, water quality monitoring, education, and public access – holding conservation lands in the towns of Gorham, Gray, Sebago, Standish, Westbrook and Windham. The land trust has conserved over 1,600 acres of land and has 14 public access preserves with trails and water access that are free and open to the public, including the 28-mile long Sebago to the Sea Trail. Learn more at www.prlt.org.

 

 

 

 

Grand Opening of Mill Brook North Trail

Saturday, October 21st @10am
Mill Brook Preserve, Westbrook

The Grand Opening will start by recognizing Sue and Steve Cullinan and the City of Westbrook for their land donations that made this expansion to Mill Brook Preserve and trail system possible. The northern section features a convenient new trailhead, peaceful woods, and some dramatic views of the brook. The grand opening will be followed by a walk led by Toby Jacobs, the land trust Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator who designed and led the trail building effort. Toby will both share information about the nature on the preserve as well as the impressive volunteer efforts that went into building the trail. The walk will be approximately 2 miles and will include some steep and uneven terrain.

History Walk at Gambo Preserve

Saturday, September 30th @10am
Gambo Preserve, Gorham

Join us on Saturday, September 30th to learn about the amazing history of the Gambo Preserve. This program is a collaboration with the Happy Healthy Gorham Initiative. Former land trust board member Don Wescott will be leading this walk. He will share about the C & O Canal and Towpath, the Gunpowder Mill, and the Gambo Dam, all of which figured prominently in the 19th century in our region, and remains of which can still be seen along the Gambo Trail. This will be an easy one mile walk over mostly flat terrain with lots of stops to learn about the history of the region.

Press Release: Presumpscot Regional Land Trust Incorporates Gorham Trails Conserved Lands, Takes on Their Stewardship

PRESS RELEASE
September 18, 2017
Contact Person: Rachelle Curran Apse, Executive Director of PRLT, 400-7154

After over a year of discussion, members of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust voted on September 17 to incorporate the conserved lands of Gorham Trails Inc—a small land trust within the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust’s coverage area. The vote took place during an event at Randall Orchards in Standish.

The leadership of Gorham Trails reached out over a year ago asking Presumpscot Regional Land Trust if they would assume responsibility for the Gorham Trails conserved lands. As an all-volunteer town land trust, the coverage area of Gorham Trails overlaps with that of Presumpscot Regional Land Trust—making the two organizations a natural fit to combine.

“After a thorough due-diligence process, we are confident that adding the Gorham Trails conserved lands and trails within our land trust will help build our regional organization. This process was made possible by grant funding from Maine Coast Heritage Trust and extensive pro bono legal services from Pierce Atwood. As one organization, we will be able to continue the current work of both organizations more effectively and efficiently,” said Rachelle Curran Apse, Executive Director of Presumpscot Regional Land Trust.

Jeff Merrill, a long time Board Member of Gorham Trails, said, “Too often people consider outdoor recreation as something to be enjoyed sporadically, requiring a vacation, a weekend getaway, or a full day’s outing. The vision of Gorham Trails was to ensure these activities remain available in our own back yard, to be incorporated into our daily routines. All of us at Gorham Trails are so glad that Presumpscot Regional Land Trust shares this vision. They are the ideal steward for Gorham Trails’ conserved lands and trails going forward.”

Presumpscot Regional Land Trust is committed to continuing the mission-based work of Gorham Trails. After the consolidation, the land trust will have 33 conserved properties totaling about 1,600 acres—including 14 public access preserves with miles of trails and water access in the towns of Gorham, Gray, Sebago, Standish, Westbrook, and Windham. The land trust will also continue to coordinate the 28-mile Sebago to the Sea Trail project and monitor water quality at 30 sites along the Presumpscot River and its tributaries. Go to https://www.prlt.org/preserves/ for an interactive map of public access lands and a brochure of trails in Gorham.

The most well used Gorham Trails lands is the western half of the Cross Town Trail, the section of the trail called the Frazier Preserve. The conserved land starts adjacent to the Access Road to Gorham High School and connects to the town owned land adjacent to Gorham Middle School. In addition to the trail, the land trust will own 6 acres of conserved land adjacent to the high school, with opportunities to collaborate with the school to create an outdoor learning space that will enhance place-based learning.

Mike Parker, current board member of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust and past board member of Gorham Trails in the 1990s said, “Presumpscot Regional Land Trust is well placed to steward the Gorham Trails conservation lands. I am proud of our land trust’s commitment to conservation throughout the region.”

Warren Whitney, Program Director for the Maine Land Trust Network, a program of Maine Coast Heritage Trust said, “Gorham Trails provided some important trail resources for the community, but despite the energy of a few dedicated volunteers, it didn’t have the organizational capacity to continue managing these lands over the long term. To its great credit, Presumpscot Regional Land Trust has stepped up to take responsibility for these community assets. That’s not only a great thing for Gorham, but for Maine, as Presumpscot Regional Land Trust is doing its part to strengthen the statewide fabric of conservation lands which are so important to Maine’s future.”

Background:

Land trusts have been conserving land for a generation and have been very successful in protecting wildlife habitat and providing access for public recreation. In Maine, land trusts now hold more than twice as much land in conservation as all the state parks and public lands combined, which is vital since Maine has one of the smallest percentages of public lands in the nation. But as conserved land continues to grow, so do the resources needed to steward these lands in perpetuity.

The board structure will remain the same. The staff will remain the same: Executive Director, Rachelle Curran Apse; and Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator, Toby Jacobs.

The merger vote happened at the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust annual meeting on Sunday, September 17, at Randall Orchards in Standish. Randall Orchards is owned by the Randall family. As of 2014, the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust now holds a 500-acre conservation and agricultural easement on the orchard and surrounding forest.

More information about Presumpscot Regional Land Trust can be found at www.prlt.org.

 

Annual Meeting and Celebration

Sunday, September 17th @5pm
Randall Orchards, Standish

We hope you will join us for our annual meeting and celebration at Randall Orchards. Come early to pick apples and enjoy the sweeping views of this beautiful 500-acre forever conserved farm and forest at Randall Orchards. The social time will begin at 5pm and the meeting will begin at 5:45pm. We will have slideshow highlights from the past year, share priorities for the coming year, and have member votes. Please join us to enjoy some homemade pie, cider from the orchard, and great company.

Guided Hike at Tannery Brook

Saturday, September 16th @10am
Tannery Brook, Gorham

What kind of tree is that? Is that an invasive plant? We’ll answer these and other questions during our hike at Tannery Brook. Join our land trust, the Gorham Conservation Commission, and Gorham Adult Education as we learn about native and non-native plants found in Gorham. You’ll also see and learn the history of the old dam at Tannery Brook. Those that want to lend a helping hand can bring hand pruners to help widen the trails while we explore. Trails are easy to moderate on this walk which will be roughly 1.5 miles long. Open to all ages.

Paddling the Presumpscot River


Saturday August 5th @10am
Hawkes Preserve, Gorham

Jump in a canoe or kayak to explore the nature and history of the Hawkes Preserve. This two hour event will be led by geographer and hydrologist Maggie Burns who works for FB Environmental, and joined by the authors of the new book, “Paddling Southern Maine: Day Trips for Recreational Kayakers, Canoers, and SUPers” Kimberlee Bennett and Sandy Moore.

Mushroom Discovery Walk

 

Photo Credit Gary Conover

Saturday July 15th @10am
Black Brook Preserve, Windham

Join us to explore the diversity of mushrooms in the Presumpscot region. Learn about the different types of mushroom, how local and seasonal conditions determine species, and which common mushrooms are edible. This two hour walk will be led by Alan Seamans of the Maine
Mycological Association.The event is free, but space is limited.