WESTBROOK—After piecing together large sections of land along an important coldwater stream, the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust will officially open its three-mile Mill Brook Preserve trail system this weekend.

Through donations of land from the city and nearby landowners, the land trust has used hundreds of volunteer hours to build the trail. Mill Brook, running between Highland Lake and the Presumpscot River, is seen as a thriving outlet for alewife fish migration, which the land trust has focused on protecting. Now, the trail will also allow residents to access the protected land and witness the migrations.

The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust is hosting an official ribbon cutting for the trail system on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 1 p.m., where Westbrook Mayor Mike Sanphy, former Mayor Colleen Hilton and land trust board member Mike Parker will lead the ceremony. The ribbon cutting will be followed by a 1½-hour guided walk with Toby Jacobs, the land trust’s stewardship and outreach coordinator, who also designed the trail.

Jacobs said this week that Mill Brook has historically supported spawning important fish species like alewives, but that it has just recently come back to life following a few years of disruption due water quality and passage issues.

“The alewives, an economically and ecologically important species, have now returned to the brook, migrating upstream in late May and early June in recent years,” he said. “The protection of the Mill Brook corridor helps ensure that this run will continue and grow in the future.”
Jacobs said the trail was built with the help of some 50 community volunteers.

This fall, the land trust added 30 acres to the Mill Brook Preserve, which already had some 70 acres. Work along Mill Brook was jump-started two years ago when the city of Westbrook donated roughly 50 acres to the land trust. That parcel is adjacent to the Cobb Farm subdivision off Methodist Road, where in 2004 developer Wayne Nelsen gave the land to the city in order to ensure that the public could access the property.

Landowners Ralph and Marilyn Hatt donated the 30 additional acres earlier this year.


The event Saturday is free, but space is limited. The land trust is asking that anyone interested in attending RSVP at www.prlt.org.

According to the land trust’s website, the trail head is at the top of Alan Knight Road just off of Methodist Road in Westbrook. The closest street address is 802 Methodist Road.

Presumpscot Regional Land Trust board member Michael Parker points out alwife fish in 2014, following the organization’s first major acquisition of land along Mill Brook in Westbrook.

One of many bridges fashioned by volunteers working to establish the three-mile Mill Brook Preserve trail in Westbrook. The trail will officially open Dec. 10.

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