CANTON — A founding visionary of the Heritage Garden and Whitney Brook Trail will be honored at a ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.

The Parks and Trails Committee voted to commemorate Susan Gammon’s contribution by placing a plaque at the trailhead on Cross Street and one across from the Park and Ride on Route 140.

All are welcome to attend the dedication.

In 2008, Canton constructed the Heritage Garden and hiking trails in flooded land acquired by the town as part of its Comprehensive Plan.

Gammon’s volunteer efforts on behalf of the town made the garden and hiking trail a reality.

The plaque reads: “The Susan R. Gammon Memorial Walking Trails: Sue worked tirelessly to promote the creation and development of the Heritage Park and hiking trails established in 2008. Please enjoy your time here.”

Gammon, who passed away in 2017, worked for several years to create a unique natural resource for residents and visitors to the area. The park and trail are maintained by the members of the Parks and Trails Committee with support from the town, volunteers, an annual plant sale and private contributions.

Canton had a rich history as a thriving town after the Civil War but began to decline in the mid-1950s after the railroad discontinued passenger service to town. Major water bodies lie within the town, including the Androscoggin River, Lake Anasagunticook, Whitney Brook, and Forest Pond which contributed to destructive floods in 1896, 1927, 1936, 1953, 1978, 1986, 1987 and 2003.  

Gammon helped the town win grants from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency flood mitigation program and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to buy homeowners’ floodplain properties which would remain conservation lands in perpetuity.

Volunteers constructed a park on the conservation land on Route 108 using plants, foundations and other salvaged materials from the purchased properties. The Heritage Garden opened to visitors in 2008 showcasing an array of perennial flowers which bloom from spring through fall.

Gammon oversaw the construction of the Whitney Brook Trail, built by the Maine Conservation Corps and located on both conservation and private land, with the help of several grants, and many volunteers including the local 4-H Club and Girl Scouts of Maine.

A significant wildlife habitat for inland waterfowl and wading birds, the Whitney Brook Trail extends from Route 140 along Bog Brook to its confluence with Whitney Brook. The 1.4 mile trail is well marked and loops through wetlands, open water areas, a vernal pool, woodlands and fields.

Visitors are welcome to stroll through the garden, picnic, rest in the gazebo, and hike the nearby trail. No motorized vehicles are permitted on the trail, but mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking are all encouraged.


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