The Witt Cart Road, one of the earliest recorded roads in Norway, in the Witt Swamp wetlands. (Submitted image)

NORWAY — The Western Foothills Land Trust has received funding from the Recreational Trails Program, a funding program of the Federal Highway Administration, for the Witt’s End Loop Trail.

The Trust protects a 272-acre contiguous landscape from Shepard’s Farm Preserve on Crockett Ridge Road, to Witt Swamp Preserve on Pleasant Street in Norway. Currently there is a half-mile universally accessible trail at Shepards Farm and three miles of mountain bike trails extending from Shepard’s Farm to Pleasant Street on the uplands surrounding Witt Swamp.

The planned loop trail will be a half-mile multi-use trail which will connect the western portion of the Witt’s End Trail to the trailhead on Pleasant Street, forming a 1.5-mile loop and creating a shortcut to Pleasant Street.

One of the earliest recorded roads in Norway, the Witt Cart Road is a raised bed road which runs east-west across the northern portion of the Witt Swamp wetlands. Historically, the cart road transected land belonging to the Witt family and was the shortest way to town for any of the farms on Crockett Ridge Road before the construction of the causeway to Crockett Ridge.

Map of the Witts End Loop trail. (Submitted image)

In more recent times, the snowmobile club has used the road and tried to maintain with decreasing degrees of success, a bridge across Bog Brook. When a crossing was available, residents along Crockett Ridge have enjoyed walking, snowshoeing and skiing the old cart road, which provides an intimate perspective on the surrounding wetlands.

Due to the site’s wetlands, the Trust has been in communication for several years with the Maine DEP, working towards a trail design that best reduced impact to the hydrological and biological systems. Trail designer Mike Cooper has developed a 4-foot wide low board walk design which will allow light penetration for plants.

The new design is slightly more expensive than the original grant-funded design, so $5,000 of additional funds are being sought. The RTP award, administered by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, is for $28, 135.

As soon as all environmental permits have been approved, the Trust will begin opening the corridor by hand in preparation for trail construction this summer. Volunteers will be needed. Anyone interested should call Lee at 739- 2124 or email [email protected]

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