The rugged beauty of Western Maine’s innumerable mountains, hills, lakes and rivers is being highlighted during the fourth Great Maine Outdoor Weekend Sept. 27 to 29.

Carl Costanzi, chairman of the Maine Outdoor Coalition’s Steering Committee, said the group focuses on different parts of the state, and Western Maine was selected for this season’s attention.

Everyone is encouraged to take in the changing fall foliage and experience some of the region’s bounty  of natural resources.

“There are events for all age groups and all levels of difficulty, from a gondola ride at Sunday River to a hike up Old Speck in Grafton Notch,” Costanzi said.

“The idea is to make it as easy and accessible as possible.”

Statewide,  around 100 events are being offered, most of which are free to the public.

Almost 20 activities are scheduled in Oxford County alone. Lee Dassler from the Western Foothills Land Trust said the organization has jumped into this season’s outdoor weekend with both feet.

Events are being planned at all four of WFLT’s preserves, including a morning fungi walk in the Virgil Parris forest in Buckfield and a kayak and canoe paddle to the Wits Swamp Preserve on Friday, and a 5k “Canine-Cross” with dogs and their owners at Roberts Farm Preserve and a mountain bike ramble at the new courses at the Shepard’s Farm Preserve, both in Norway.

In the Fryeburg area, paddling events are being held on Saturday and Sunday on the Saco River and Kezar Lake, and free parking and discount camping is being offered Friday and Saturday at the Saco River Recreational Council open house on Swans Falls Road in Fryeburg. Hikes on Caribou and Speckled Mountain are also planned.

Further north, in the Bethel area, scenic lift rides are on offer at Sunday River in Newry all weekend, and hikes are planned for Old Speck and Mt. Will, as well as the first ever bike ride in the Bingham Forest in Bethel.

In Franklin County, a paddle is scheduled at the Otis Falls Mills in Jay on Thursday evening. On Saturday, a “toy run” on the whistle stop trail through Farmington, Wilton and Jay is planned, and foliage walks are being offered in Mt. Blue State Park in Weld, Poplar Falls in the Carrabassett Valley and the Fly Rod Crosby Trail in Madrid. A harvest dinner and overnight stay at the Maine Huts and Trails’ Stratton Brook Hut are also scheduled.

The annual pumpkin festival in Livermore Falls on Saturday kicks off the weekend’s events in Androscoggin County. A story walk with the Turner Public Library at the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park in Turner is also planned for Saturday, while four-legged friends are invited to soak up some foliage and history on the Homestead Trail during a “wag through the woods” in the Riverlands on Sunday.

For more information on these events and more like them across the state, visit http://greatmaineoutdoorweekend.org/.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.