July marks the inaugural “Love Maine Trails Month,” a series of special events around the state that are being coordinated and promoted by the Maine Trails Coalition. Hikers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to “lace up your boots, put on some work gloves, and give back to Maine’s trails.” Working side by side with many dedicated stewards who could really use the extra hands, we can really show our appreciation for the trails we love and use.

“We’re hoping that ‘Love Maine Trails Month’ will raise awareness of how people can get involved by highlighting what’s going on throughout the month,” said Sylvia Cassano, the project coordinator for the Maine Trails Coalition. “We’re reaching out to try and recruit new trail volunteers and to help increase support for trails at the local, regional and state level. This year is a pilot, but we’re hopeful.”

Volunteers don’t need any trail work experience, just a good attitude and a willingness to spend a day outdoors with other like-minded folks doing what needs to be done for the cause. Hikers can find out more about “Love Maine Trails Month” on the Maine Trails Coalition website at mainetrailscoalition.org, where there’s a link to a calendar on Maine Trail Finder.

Here’s a look at some of the 14 events listed at last count:

 Hikers can join the Downeast Lakes Land Trust for any of five days of trail work in the Downeast Lakes Community Forest, a nearly 58,000-acre chunk of conservation land being managed for wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and forest products. This is a great chance to meet new hiking friends while contributing some sweat equity to the growing trails effort in the beautiful Grand Lake Stream area of north-central Washington County.

A dozen short trails at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge offer more than 7 miles of hiking on 2,460 acres of woodlands and wetlands inside a wide bend in Pushaw Stream along the Old Town-Alton town line. There are a couple of fun opportunities to help clear the trails at this really sweet place that is “dedicated to preserving nature while providing education and recreational opportunities to the public.”


The Kennebec Land Trust could use your assistance trimming vegetation and clearing brush as they work to create a brand new loop trail at Oak Hill Conservation Area in Fayette, about 15 miles northwest of Augusta. Protected late last year, the new 134-acre property, one of over 40 under the care of KLT, preserves a ridgeline above Echo Lake and mature woods adjacent to Hales Brook.

 Inland Woods + Trails is hosting 13 trail work days (three in July) called “Boulders, Berms and BBQ,” where participants can help with maintaining and building hiking and mountain biking trails in western Maine, mostly around the Bethel area. This ambitious non-profit has been going gangbusters with trails lately and you’ll want to get in on the action. Chow down on a hearty lunch (provided) when you’re done.

 The Maine Appalachian Trail Club has been busy replacing old privies up and down the 268-mile length of the AT that they’re responsible for. The latest privy project is at scenic Horseshoe Canyon on the West Branch of the Piscataquis River in Blanchard just west of Monson. The MATC has pre-packaged 150 bundles that need to be carried 0.7 miles into the worksite, where the pre-built structure will be reassembled. Take part in one or both days.

 Boot Head Preserve in Lubec protects a wildly beautiful section of pristine Bold Coast shoreline between Boot Head and Jim’s Head. Accompany the wonderful folks from the Maine Coast Heritage Trust on a mile-long walk into Brook Cove, where you’ll help gather up and bag detritus that has washed in and collected on the cobble beach. The bags will then need to be carried to the trailhead on Boot Cove Road.

The Maine Trails Coalition was formed three years ago to serve as “a statewide voice for trail users, supporters, and advocates” and to “champion the establishment, use and stewardship of trails in Maine.” Consider joining their ranks and getting involved in the good work they’re doing to benefit the trails community and our outdoor recreation economy. Your enthusiasm, energy and expertise will be most welcome.

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island is an award-winning member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. His latest book, “Beer Hiking New England,” will be available early next spring. Follow more of Carey’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram @careykish

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