A Pownal trail extension preview, a Durham ?full-moon trek and other local events are on tap for a special weekend.

POWNAL – As part of a planned expansion of the Bradbury Pineland trail corridor in Gray and North Yarmouth, Pownal could be connected to new mountain bike, equestrian, hiking and skiing trails sometime in 2013.

Plans of the expansion will be detailed during a trek Friday at the Pineland Public Reserved Lands on Depot Road in Gray. The 2 p.m. event is part of the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, Feb. 15-18, described by sponsor Maine Outdoor Coalition as a celebration of being active outside in Maine.

Alan Stearns, executive director of the Royal River Conservation Trust, said the Bradbury Pineland trail extension would be the culmination of 10 years of hard work. According to Stearns, portions of the planned multi-use trail are open in Pownal, but two additional phases are needed in order to completely connect the town to North Yarmouth. A large section along Central Maine Power’s power line will be re-opened in 2013, the second phase, according to Stearns.

“We have the ownership rights. The third phase will be actually developing the trails,” said Stearns.

In addition to the Pownal trail trek and talk, four other events are on tap locally for the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend. On Sunday at 2 p.m., Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport will host a free guided walk focusing on the park’s birds.

“This is a great opportunity to explore the birds of the park and to understand their winter habitats,” said David Herring, executive director of Wolfe’s Neck Farm Foundation.

Wolfe’s Neck Farm is also scheduled to host a winter camp for children on Feb. 18 and 19, beginning at 8:30 a.m. According to Herring, the event will feature activities ranging from winter wilderness survival to tracking animals in the snow to learning about their winter diets.

“This is an educational and fun experience. Kids really enjoy the hands-on aspect of the camp,” said Herring.

For those seeking a chilly nocturnal adventure, Royal River Conservation Trust board member and Pownal resident Fred Fauver is hosting a ski and skate fest called the Runaround Pond Moonlight Adventure on Feb. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in Durham. Fauver is urging participants to bring Nordic skis, skates, or boots with traction for what he describes as a “romp” under a near-full moon.

Not to be outdone, the Powell Point Preserve in South Freeport will kick off the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend with a 1.5-mile trek from Lambert Road to a scenic bluff overlooking lower Cousins River on Friday at noon. David Steckler, chairman of the land acquisition committee of the Royal River Conservation Trust, and Katrina Van Dusen of the Freeport Conservation Trust will lead the free trek and discuss the land preservation efforts of both organizations.

The Maine Outdoor Coalition, which is responsible for the Great Maine Outdoor weekend, is a network of nonprofit, for-profit, public and private partners committed to supporting Mainers’ connection to the outdoors. According to information provided by the group, the coalition aims to instill an appreciation of spending time outdoors in the natural world and inspire people to make use of natural resources.

The roots of the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend began in 2011, when representatives from Acadia National Park, Appalachian Mountain Club, the Maine Center for Disease Control, L.L. Bean, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Trust for Public Land began to explore a plan to pool their resources and engage the public in outdoor activity. The Maine Outdoor Coalition plans to hold both a summer and winter Great Maine Outdoor Weekend every year.

“Great Maine Outdoor Weekend helps remind us of all the wonderful outdoor opportunities we have here – at a time of year when many people are starting to get cabin fever,” said coalition member Scot Balentine of L.L. Bean. “Participants can sample an activity they’ve never tried before or explore a place they’ve always wanted to visit. For many Mainers, it’s a great way for the whole family to share in a wonderful winter adventure outdoors.”


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