A group of five Telstar Freshmen Academy students are holding a fundraiser to help preserve Buck’s Ledge and surrounding land in Bryant Pond. This is a view from the top of the “Ledge” at sunset. Emily Ecker photo

BETHEL — Students at Telstar High School regularly hold class hikes along Buck’s Ledge Trail, a 2.4-mile out and back that delights hikers with expansive views of the Mahoosuc Range, Mount Abram, the Presidential Range in New Hampshire, and South and North Pond.

Five students at Telstar Freshmen Academy want to preserve that trail and surrounding land and will be holding a fundraising barbecue on Monday, June 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond, 17 Conservation Lane. Their goal is to raise $600 to donate to the Buck’s Ledge Community Forest project.

Every year, through Telstar’s various academies, students are required to select a community service project.

Five students — Alice Ford, Noah Cunnington, Jordan Robshaw, Elliot Norton and Thomas Skinner — chose to raise money for the forest project.

According to Ford, “we’re trying to make the Ledge a place that doesn’t get houses built on it. So it stays a public place for everyone to enjoy.”


Cunnington said he’s hiked the trail with his family and with his classmates many times, and although teachers gave the students a number of community service projects to choose from, “we chose Ledge because we thought we could help. We’ve been hiking on it before and really like the spot and were thinking that it would be good to keep it public, free and safe from construction.”

Robshaw said it was important to preserve the Ledge for the community, and raising money to help the cause has become important to this dedicated student group.

The five reached out to local businesses for food donations, including the Bethel IGA, Mallard Mart, the Good Food Store, and the UMaine 4-H campus, for the barbecue. They’re hanging fliers inviting the public to the  barbecue and sending out press releases to help get the word out. They’ve also organized games for the barbecue and Skinner is scheduled to make a presentation about the Ledge and the student project.

Ford said they have planned for about 50 people to attend, and hope to raise $600. “We’ll be happy if we get more than that,” she said, “every little bit helps a lot. A little bit at a time helps a lot.”

Cunnington said “we just really want this place to be preserved and it’s a very fun place to go to.”

Ford agreed, saying “It has a lot of meaning to people.”


Preserving the Ledge and the trail is important, Robshaw said, but so is preserving the surrounding natural habitat.

The 2.4-mile out-and-back Buck’s Ledge Trail is considered a moderately difficult hike, and it’s a trail that five Telstar Freshmen Academy students feel is worth conserving for public use. This is a view of the ‘Ledge” from Route 26 in Woodstock. Emily Ecker photo

According to the Mahoosuc Land Trust, the Ledge offers one of the area’s most recognizable geographic features, noting “the iconic granite face of Buck’s Ledge rises from the eastern shore of North Pond in Woodstock, a magnet for hikers, as well as artists and photographers.”

The Community Forest project will encompass 646 acres of land, including Buck’s Ledge, Lapham Ledge and the summit of Moody Mountain, according to the land trust. “The parcel, already well-known for hiking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and other traditional uses, includes rare plants, old growth trees, and nesting habitat for peregrine falcons and other raptors.”

The town of Woodstock maintains year-round trailhead parking on Route 26, and an access path to the trail was recently established at Woodstock Elementary School so students can use the trail and surrounding land as an outdoor classroom, according to the land trust.

The money raised by the Telstar students will be added to funding already pledged from the Land for Maine’s Future program and the Forest Legacy Society toward the purchase price of $615,000.

Mahoosuc Land Trust envisions the Community Forest project to be a publicly owned place that will be conserved in perpetuity, “ensuring that it will always remain undeveloped and accessible to area residents and visitors.”


The land trust’s goal is to raise $175,000 in private donations to add to the state and federal grants. That money will be used to pay additional costs for survey work, legal fees and staff time for its partner organizations, which include the Woodstock Conservation Commission, the Forest Society of Maine, the Northern Forest Center and the town of Woodstock. The full cost of the project is $900,000.

The Telstar students are excited about helping the project and ensuring its natural state. “I’ve been up there when there’s been a sunset, and it looks amazing,” Cunnington said, and he wants other people to be able to have that same experience.

Buck’s Ledge Trail is considered a moderately challenging route, as hikers have to navigate a series of ledges along the way. According to local trail guides, it takes about an hour to complete the hike along the well-marked trail. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash. Trailhead parking is on Route 26.

Hikers looking for a little more exertion can add another mile and another hour of hiking by combining the looped trails of Lapham Ledge and Buck’s Ledge.

If you can’t make it to the barbecue, donations can be made directly to the Mahoosuc Land Trust at mahoosuc.org/donate, or you can send a check to Mahoosuc Land Trust, PO Box 981, Bethel, Maine 04217.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: