Trails Coalition Efforts Boosted by Quimby Family Foundation Grant

(Unity, ME) - Thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Quimby Family Foundation, the Waldo County Trails Coalition will take a significant step in moving its Hills-to-Sea Trails closer to completion.

The coalition of nine Waldo County organizations has been working for three years to establish hiking trails linking existing trails in Waldo County, with the goal of a continuous trail from Unity to Belfast. The Quimby grant will enable the coalition to hire a part-time staff person to coordinate the trail-building efforts of the organizations.

To date the coalition has completed a 6.3-mile trail section from Unity Village to the grounds of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and a 1.2-mile section from Route 137 near Freedom General Store to Freedom Pond Road in Montville. An existing trail network will be incorporated that stretches from Freedom Pond Road to Frye Mountain. The trail will cross privately owned lands with permission of landowners, and conserved properties.

The coalition’s mission is to connect Waldo County communities to celebrate our heritage of natural and working landscapes. Coalition Chair Doug Van Horn said, “Adding the assistance of professional staff to our team will give us greater coordination for trail projects, outreach and education programs and support for developing a sustainable future for the coalition.”

Other coalition objectives are to support community wellness by creating opportunities for outdoor recreation, to provide environmental education and opportunities for nature observation, and to deepen our sense of place.

The coalition also desires to support economic opportunity for farms, bed and breakfasts, and other area businesses through sustainable tourism. One Montville family, for example, has for a few years been renting a yurt on its land that is crossed by the existing trail network, which will become part of the Hill-to-Sea Trails.

The Waldo County Trails Coalition organizations include the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition, Future MSAD3, Georges River Land Trust, Maine Farmland Trust, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance, Unity College and Unity Barn Raisers.

Work on the Hills-to-Sea Trails is ongoing, and the coalition welcomes volunteers for the many facets of its work. To learn more, please visit www.waldotrails.org.

Take a Walk, Lend a Hand

PLP kioskDid you know Sebasticook Regional Land Trust owns 11 properties, located in not only Unity but also Burnham, Cambridge, Freedom, Hartland, Jackson and Stetson?  These diverse holdings include an assortment of habitats and recreational opportunities.  You can get to know these special places by volunteering as a property steward!

Some SRLT properties have trails and other public-access improvements. Some properties are managed just for wildlife while others include forestry and farming components.  Some properties are open for hunting, while others are not.  While each property is different, they all have two things in common: they are forever conserved for the benefit of people and wildlife, and the SRLT is responsible for their care.

SRLT property stewards help care for these important lands by taking walks and occasionally joining with other volunteers for larger projects like trail improvements, boundary marking or plant and wildlife surveys.  There are no special skills required, simply a willingness to be outside and to submit a completed “stewardship visit” report – a brief record of your observations and suggestions.

We suggest properties with trails be visited quarterly, with semi-annual or annual visits for our unimproved or remote parcels.  The SRLT provides an initial property orientation and ongoing support.

Interested in learning more? Please contact Jennifer at 948-3766 or by email.

LetterBoxing

this is not trash

Our spring internAllison Perna, added  a new educational tool for our preserves.  Moulton’s Mill, Wesley Road Wetland, Kanokolus Bog, Freedom Forest Preserve and Connor Mill Trail now have letterboxes for you to discover.  Allison has  been Letterboxing – a bit like geocaching without the technology – with her family  for many years and brought this to her internship.  She has created a number of letterboxes on our preserves for you to discover following the clues.