One of the many reasons we love living in the Lakes Region is our beautiful natural environment. And during this past year it called to us more than ever. When we could not enjoy movie theaters and restaurants or enjoy indoor gatherings with friends and family, we took to the hills!

Thanks to Loon Echo Land Trust, which manages over 30 miles of trails and 6,000 acres of land, we were able to explore places like Bald Pate Mountain, Pleasant Mountain and Hacker’s Hill in Casco, all protected forever and open to everyone. It is no surprise that LELT saw an estimated 60,000 visits to its lands in 2020, a 30% increase over 2019. Some trails, like the Bald Peak Trail on Pleasant Mountain, saw a 70% increase.

Now that so many people have discovered, or re-discovered, their love of being outdoors in nature, they will be happy to learn that Loon Echo is building new trails and actively protecting more land. And some of these trails are accessible to everyone, not just the hill trekkers. The new trail at Peabody-Fitch Woods surrounding Narramissic Farm is gravel-surfaced, relatively flat and only a half-mile long. It offers views of the old farm and the distant mountains too – a great walk for folks of all ages and abilities.

Not everyone during this pandemic year has been as fortunate as we in the Lakes Region. We are grateful to live here and to Loon Echo Land Trust for making it possible for us to enjoy so many of its special places.

Connie Cross
Casco