This summer, when looking for ways to enjoy the great outdoors, the Androscoggin Land Trust wants you to know you can do it all in your own hometown. Maine’s quality of place is best defined by the accessibility of its natural environment and outdoor recreation in close proximity to traditional village centers and downtowns.

Along the Androscoggin River watershed, the Androscoggin Land Trust envisions a network of public and privately-owned conserved lands that connect to and are balanced with diverse and vibrant communities.

A major initiative underway now seeks to connect land and water-based trails at Gulf Island Pond on the Androscoggin River to downtown Lewiston-Auburn. Long known as the “Androscoggin Greenway,” planning for this project began in the 1990s and has yielded such local trails as the Riverwalk and West Pitch Park in Auburn and Simard-Payne (Railroad) Park in Lewiston. The long-term plan seeks to connect the Greenway from Turner and Leeds south through Lewiston-Auburn to Lisbon and Durham.

The commitment of local residents, ALT and other community partners has led to the acquisition of 2,600 acres of land along the Androscoggin River in Turner and Leeds. This land, known as the Androscoggin Riverlands, is available for traditional outdoor recreation and is a centerpiece of the vision created for Maine’s first new state park in nearly a quarter century with trails that connect from the park to L-A.

In addition to major conservation and recreation projects, ALT and its urban-based program, LA Trails, continue to steward public assets like the Alexander-Harkins Preserve in Auburn. The 30-acre preserve, owned by ALT, can be found abutting close to 50 acres of additional forested land owned by the City of Auburn. This preserve, located in the heart of New Auburn, offers walking and hiking trails and has been an ideal location for educational programs for students at the adjacent Sherwood Heights Elementary. The trailhead for the preserve is located at the end of 19th Street.

In Lewiston, the scenic David Rancourt River Preserve is an ideal place to enjoy the Androscoggin River. Two sand beaches offer easy access for canoes or kayaks, as well as a place to picnic or simply take in the view of rolling farm fields along North River Road in Auburn. Wide, clear trails for walking, jogging or mountain biking wind through the pine forest along the shore, and a scenic overlook offers views of Deer Rips Dam. The trailhead is located at the north end of Tall Pines Drive.

There is much to enjoy beyond Maine’s second largest metropolitan area, including the quiet and pristine beauty of the Hooper Pond Preserve. Located in Greene, just off U.S. Route 202, you can enjoy a picnic at the Town picnic site, then put in your canoe and paddle across gentle Hooper Pond. Across the pond from the picnic site, enjoy a moderate hike over 195 acres of upland forest.

Or if you head south of Lewiston-Auburn, you can easily find the Durham River Park, a 12-acre park nestled between the Androscoggin River and Route 136.

Traveling north of Lewiston-Auburn, ALT conserves a network of over 1,200 acres of land in Jay and Canton. The largest preserve there, which encompasses 220 acres of island and shoreline, is the Stevens Island and Rivershore Preserve. The island is easily accessible for paddlers from a boat launch on Route 140, and nature enthusiasts will appreciate the wealth of native vegetation and wildlife.

The Androscoggin Land Trust is a membership-supported conservation organization dedicated to protecting the important natural areas, traditional landscapes, and outdoor experience along the

Androscoggin River watershed. They currently conserve nearly 3,600 acres of land, including over nine miles of shorefront along the Androscoggin River.

2009 calendar of events:

June 6th, 9 AM – 12 PM National Trails Day Events in Auburn at Mt. Apatite and in Jay and Canton at waterfront sites. Call for more information or to volunteer.

July 12th, 11 AM – 1 PM – 11TH Annual Chief Worumbo Androscoggin River Race The Chief Worumbo Androscoggin River Race is a 6-mile amateur race competition with possible class I rips and easy class II rapids. Race day registration begins at 9:00 am at the Durham Boat Launch on Rte. 136 in Durham near the Auburn/Durham line. The race finish is just under the railroad trestle where the Sabattus River joins the Androscoggin on Rte. 196 in Lisbon. Entry fee is $15 per person. Call for more information.

July 25, 10 AM – noon. Androscoggin Land Trust Annual Picnic, Center Bridge Road Boat Launch, Turner. Join us for our annual cook-out and a paddle around beautiful Gulf Island Pond. In conjunction with the Source to Sea Trek. Call for more information.

August 12, 8:00 am. Guided Bird Walk at the Alexander-Harkins Preserve. Stanton Bird Club will lead a guided walk highlighting the flora and fauna of this in-town preserve. Meet at 8:00 at Staples parking lot, 855 Lisbon St., Lewiston. Call 933-2266 or [email protected] for more information.

August 21, 22, 23 – Great Falls Balloon Festival Paddling Event

Join us throughout the festival as we observe the balloon launches from the unique perspective of the Androscoggin River. We’ll paddle from the New Auburn boat launch to the Great Falls during each morning and evening launch of the festival. Call for more information.

For more information about these events or other conserved lands in our region of the Androscoggin River watershed, visit www.androscogginlandtrust.org or call (207) 782-2302.

Recreational Opportunities in Androscoggin County: A Resource Guide

Healthy Androscoggin, the Androscoggin Land Trust and its LA Trails program, and the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce are pleased to provide this free resource to individuals, employers, and other interested parties. Androscoggin County is full of wonderful rivers, ponds, lakes, parks, trails, and open lands. There are lots of places where individuals and families can get out, get moving and enjoy the beauty.

“The role of the Androscoggin Land Trust involves much more than simply working to protect the unique natural landscape within our service region,” adds Jonathan LaBonte, executive director of the Androscoggin Land Trust. “Our organization must leverage its resources and expertise to help get residents and visitors active in enjoying the recreational assets of this area.”

The guide features open spaces and trails, community organizations providing recreational opportunities as well as golf courses, gyms, etc., for each town in Androscoggin County. The four regional maps of towns in the county identifying sites and trails will help guide you to the spot of choice! Physical activity and safety tips are also a part of the guide.

Call Healthy Androscoggin at 795-5990 to request copies of the guide for Recreational Opportunities in Androscoggin County. Get out, get exploring, get moving!


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