BRIDGTON — A collaborative trail project between Loon Echo Land Trust and Bridgton Historical Society is underway. The approximately one-mile universally accessible trail will be located at Narramissic Farm & Peabody-Fitch Woods in South Bridgton.

The gravel-surfaced trail will weave its way along rock walls, through woods and bring visitors to a viewpoint of the farm, fields and the White Mountains. The universal access trail will allow for nonmotorized use; appropriate for walking, skiing, running, snowshoeing and some wheeled mobility devices.

Peabody-Fitch Woods was conserved by LELT in August 2019 and ensures public access for recreational opportunities, including hunting, walking and nature observation. The forest surrounds the house and fields of BHS’s Narramissic Historic Farm. Peabody-Fitch Woods was originally part of the historic Peabody-Fitch Farm (now called Narramissic), which was established in 1797, just three years after Bridgton was incorporated. Since 1986 BHS has owned and operated the farm as a museum. The property includes a functioning blacksmith shop, the Temperance Barn, and the house, furnished largely with artifacts from the Peabody and Fitch families who built it in 1797 and lived there until 1938.

The trail project includes the construction of a new parking area and informational kiosk. These infrastructure improvements are further protected by an easement that will ensure it is perpetually accessible to the public.

Work on the new trail and parking area will begin this summer and is expected to be finished in the fall. After a public bid process, Warren Excavation of Bridgton has been selected to manage the construction. LELT will also improve and add to existing trails on the property this summer. Crews from the Appalachian Mountain Club, in addition to LELT staff and volunteers, will create a loop trail bringing hikers to more remote sections of the property. Additionally, a multi-use snowmobile and ATV trail on the property will continue to be maintained with the support of local clubs.

Phase two of the new trail project, scheduled for 2021 and pending fundraising efforts, will include installing interpretive signage to teach visitors about the ecology and cultural history of the land.

Funding has been made possible by the Maine Recreational Trail Program, Maine Land Trust Network, L.L. Bean and private donors. Donations for the trail project are still being accepted and can be made online at lelt.org or by mailing a check to Loon Echo Land Trust at 8 Depot St., Suite 4, Bridgton.

Peabody-Fitch Woods and Narramissic will support a variety of cultural, educational and recreational activities. BHS has used the woods for programs and tours for many years, and now LELT and BHS are planning new collaborative events that will take advantage of access to the farm and the woods.

Peabody-Fitch Woods, the trail to the quarry, and the grounds of the farm are open to the public all year ’round. In normal times BHS offers regular house tours for visitors. Due to the current public health crisis, BHS has tentative plans to provide house tours for small groups by appointment only, with strict social distancing requirements.

For more information on, LELT preserves, upcoming events or how to get involved, visit lelt.org or the Facebook page. To learn more and support the work of BHS by becoming a member, visit bridgtonhistory.org or the Facebook page.


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