The Pride Preserve in Westbrook is a destination in the Presumpscot River Regional Land Trust’s Summer Trail Challenge. Contributed / Presumpscot Regional Land Trust

Presumpscot Regional Land Trust’s first ever Summer Trail Challenge kicked off last week and already more than 100 people have signed up. Participants have until Aug. 31 to visit and photograph six land trust preserves, all of which have special landmarks.

The 1- to 2-mile “destination” trails included in the challenge, in Westbrook, Gorham, Windham and Standish, give residents the chance to discover the “mini wildernesses in Maine that you can reach within five to 10 minutes of your house,” said Brenna Crothers, the community engagement manager for the regional land trust who came up with the idea of a challenge.

Ruins of a gunpowder mill at Gambo Preserve, one of the landmarks to be discovered in the Trail Challenge. Contributed / Patrick Bonsant

“We have so much beautiful nature, landscapes and wildlife in our own backyards,” Crothers said.

The trails are fairly easy to walk, and Crothers said it was important to her everyone would be able to participate and “explore the trail systems at their own pace.”

Two participants have already completed the challenge.

“We knew there’d be people who would do it in a day or weekend, but also young families who would want to break it up throughout the summer,” she said.


Scavenger hunts, story walks and fairy houses have been included at the sites to further engage families and “give the place a kind of fantastical feel,” Crothers said.

The destination sites and their landmarks are: Mill Brook Preserve, Westbrook, waterfall and viewing pool; Pride Preserve, Westbrook, Cascade Falls; Black Brook Preserve, Windham, glacial erratic; Hawkes Preserve, Gorham, viewing bridge; Gambo Preserve, Gorham and Windham, mill ruins; and Steep Falls Village Preserve, Standish, Tucker Brook Overlook.

The land trust hopes to engage children with birdhouses and fairy houses along the trails, scavenger hunts and story walks. Contributed / Presumpscot Regional Land Trust

At each landmark on the trails, there’s a QR code so challenge participants can submit their entries and send a photo.

Land trust volunteer Jim McBride of Windham is looking forward to taking on the challenge himself.

“I think the trail challenge is a really fun way to engage with more people,” McBride said. “Having more people see some of the lesser-known preserves will be really nice. People in Greater Portland tend to not realize how close by these gorgeous preserves are.”

He said he particularly enjoys the Gambo Preserve in Windham, where visitors can see the ruins of a gunpowder mill used during the Revolutionary War that once produced the most gunpowder in the country.

“We’re fortunate in the state of Maine that there are many opportunities to get outside and realize the beauty around us,” he said.

The first 100 participants to complete the challenge will receive an REI Co-op/Presumpscot Regional Land Trust water bottle. Every participant will receive an REI Co-op/land trust sticker. For more details and to register, go to

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