On the first Saturday in June for 22 years, Americans have celebrated National Trails Day with outings, events and workshops that focus on the importance of trails of every type to our national health and well-being, bringing hikers and bikers, paddlers and birdwatchers, runners and horseback riders, and many others together for a great common purpose. On June 7, you are again encouraged to take part in this important day in the outdoors. Here are some highlights of what’s going on in Maine.
Join Nick Ullo, executive director of the Boothbay Region Land Trust, for a morning walk through Ovens Mouth Preserve. Ullo will talk about the fascinating history of land trusts in Maine, with emphasis on conservation work done in Boothbay. The two-mile hike will wind through the west side of the 146-acre parcel, where you’ll visit the tidal Back River and a salt marsh and see old stone walls, and very likely a variety of wildlife.
Take the Harpswell Hiking Challenge for an opportunity to hike 10 miles of trails at eight public properties throughout Harpswell, including Cliff Trail, Mitchell Field, Skolfield Shores Preserve, Long Reach Preserve, Giant’s Stairs and Houghton Graves Park. The Harpswell Heritage Land Trust’s new Widgeon Cove Trail will be open to the public. The weekend-long challenge is a self-guided adventure. Register at the town office either day; the first 100 people get a T-shirt.
The Mahoosuc Land Trust is hosting a day of light trail work at the Rumford Whitecap Mountain Preserve, a 752-acre property that protects the slopes of one of the most spectacular midsize mountain peaks in the region. Volunteers will clear brush, clip trailside growth and clean out erosion control bars. Bring light tools such as rakes, clippers, loppers and shovels if you have them, as well as work gloves and bug dope, lunch and water. The trust will also have tools available.
Join the good folks of Bath Trails for a guided five-mile walk on the Whiskeag Trail, a wild and scenic path on public property. From Thorne Head Preserve, the trail winds along Whiskeag Creek to Sewall Preserve, then through Oak Grove Cemetery and the Bath Middle School and McMann Athletic Complex properties to the Bath Area Family YMCA. Participants should park at the YMCA, where trolleys will shuttle hikers from 9 to 9:45 a.m.
The L.C. Bates Museum is a fascinating natural history museum on the campus of the Good Will-Hinckley Home for Boys and Girls. Just behind the museum, four miles of nature trails meander through the woods and fields of the 1,800-acre property, which includes numerous stone monuments made of local field stone. Two guided hikes will be led by naturalists on the museum staff: a bird hike at 8 a.m., followed by an insect hike at 10.
Yarmouth Community Services is hosting a couple events. Take a self-guided hike or mountain bike ride (dogs under control are welcome) on the multiuse Westside Trail, which extends from Route 1 to the Cousins Island Bridge. Entirely within the Central Maine Power corridor, the trail is a new addition to the town’s growing inventory of trails and preserves. As an alternative, an introduction to Leave No Trace practices will be presented by Savannah Steele of the Maine Conservation Corps at Camp SOCI on Cousins Island.
A small fee per family covers the instructor and materials.
Check out details of all National Trails Day happenings on the American Hiking Society website at www.americanhiking.org.
Carey Kish of Bowdoin is an avid hiker and trail maintainer. Follow Carey’s adventures in his Maineiac Outdoors blog at: