The Presumpscot Preserve:
Bigger and Better than Ever
Maine Conservation Corps crew hard at work.
A summer of hard work by a six-person Maine Conservation Corps team, PT Trails Construction Manager Jaime Parker, Stillman Restoration/Design Landscape Designer David Buchanan, and a host of volunteers has resulted in lots of infrastructure improvements to the magnificent Presumpscot River Preserve.
"Brian Gilbert and his MCC crew were great," says Jaime. "Everything we had planned for summer work got done." 'Everything' included having the MCC crew not only do the work, but also talk with trail users, updating them and taking feedback from dog-walkers, hikers, and mountain bikers.
One of the most memorable days was in mid-July when Jaime and the crew performed an old-fashioned log-float down the Presumpscot. In addition to being fun, it was the easiest and least environmentally damaging way to transport lumber to the three building sites along the river. Two canoes and a kayak guided the lumber "raft" during the four-hour float. What did the crew create with all that lumber? They built twelve bridges, a boardwalk, bench installation, two portage ladders, and water bars.
"This is a site that has grown back and recovered from many centuries of heavy use," says David Buchanan. "It offers a quiet space outside of the City." The crew's summer work made that quiet space accessible.
In addition to being better, the preserve is bigger. George and Mary Goodall of Falmouth have donated 3,600 feet of beautiful, untouched shoreline on the south side of the river between the Gray Road in Falmouth and the Maine Turnpike 'Falmouth spur.' The Goodalls' generosity improves visitor access to the original 48 acres of preserve purchased in 2002.
The Goodalls' trail license agreement with PT allows hikers, skiers, snowshoers, and mountain bikers to use a three-foot wide trail along the shore. Portland Trails will install signage, maintain the property, and work to preserve its natural, wild state.
"It's a great way to see the town, see nature, and get in shape," said PT Vice President, Falmouth Trails Committee founder, and Falmouth resident, Elizabeth Ehrenfeld.
This autumn, planned work on the Portland and Falmouth sides of the river includes signage installation, the addition of railings on the two portage ladders, steps at the trailhead, a site map, and a water access ladder.
With family-friendly loop trails, varied contour challenges for mountain bikers, and easy access to and from the water, there is something for anyone wanting to enjoy the quiet of nature. Join us on the Presumpscot, along with the turtles, Great Blue Herons, and if you are lucky, a Bald Eagle.
The Maine Conservation Corps crew found it easiest to float the lumber they needed to the work site.
Portland Trails' crew leader, Jaime Parker.
Bridge designed with wide railings to accommodate bike handlebars.