We had a great winter, didn’t we?

Well, it was great if you like snow and I love snow. I like to think of the seasons here in Maine as the earth breathing. In the winter the land inhales snow and in the spring exhales the snowmelt into the Gulf. In the summer it dries out, only in the fall to prepare for the next deep breath of winter.

The native tribes in Maine would follow that pattern traveling north on the frozen water to hunt deer, moose and bear, then riding the swollen waterways down the river with their bounty to the village. They would plant their crops and then continue to the gulf to harvest shellfish before they returned to the village for the harvest before being inhaled to the north again to hunt.

All that water continues to be exhaled to the gulf, leaving behind mud. I find mud to be way more frustrating than snow. After the long winter and with the warmer weather, I’m biting at the bit to get out on trails but I know how sloppy they still are. So mud season is planning season, and there are so many plans.

With the Western Foothills Land Trust, we will be putting in a new trail going into the Witt Swamp Extension. We will also be getting a new ski trail started in the new Roberts Farm Extension property. Last year, we started a new trail system at the Hatch Preserve at Hawk Mountain and the Twin Bridges Preserve on the Crooked River. This year we will be adding way finding signage to those trails.

As the land continues to exhale, my mind is wandering where my feet can’t. I’m thinking of a new trail design at the Noyes Mountain Preserve to take people to see other parts of the large preserve. One of our other large preserves is the Virgil Parris Forest. There, too, I’m thinking of a new trail and where it should go, where do I want to take you.

Finally, there’s an exiting new collaborative trail project with the Progress Center, the Town of Norway and the Town of Paris, that will finally turn the Norway Branch Railroad into an ADA accessible walking path, the Norway Branch Rail Trail. This also includes improvements on the Matthew Record Trail. If you are interested in volunteering to help clean out the bed, give me a shout.

There’s so much to think about as the earth breathes. By the next deep breath of winter, there will be new places for us to explore.

Carl Costanzi coordinates the Let’s Go! obesity prevention program for Western Maine Health. You can connect with him at Healthy Oxford Hills at 20 Paris St. across from the Ripley Building, call 890-6102, or email [email protected]

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