Opening of a new nature reserve in Gouldsboro
GOULDSBORO – Frenchman Bay Conservancy (FBC) completed construction of a paddling and hiking trail in its Day Ridges Preserve and officially opened the reserve to the public. The parking lot and trailhead are located 0.9 mile east of the intersection of Route 195 with Route 1.
The Day Ridges Preserve offers 2 miles of hiking trails and access to a paddler trail that begins at Lower West Bay Pond and provides access to a rustic campground on Upper West Bay Pond. Visitors can take the forest path directly to the pond to access the water or take one of two nature trails. Extensive bog bridges allow hikers to explore a cedar swamp and bypass impressive boulders of glacial ice. At the junction of the white and blue trail loops, visitors can stop to admire the view of the beaver pond.
Frenchman Bay Conservancy also offers a canoe loan program; canoes are kept on site and can be borrowed from the reserve free of charge but upon prior registration. Canoe cards, paddles and life jackets are provided. Camping at the rustic Upper West Bay Pond site is also available by prior registration. The Paddler Trail is designed to be an easy first canoe experience, with a short portage section and an easy paddle.
The Day Ridges Preserve Nature Trails were constructed during the summers of 2020 and 2021. Despite delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 800 hours of dedicated volunteer work have gone into completing these trails. .
The Day Ridges Reserve and additional land covering Lower and Upper West Bay Ponds were acquired with funds from the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s NAWCA Grant Program to protect critical habitat in the two ponds serving wading populations and waterfowl, among other species of interest. This landscape is a priority area of ââthe BCF due to the unspoiled forest landscape that stretches from the Schoodic District of Acadia National Park north to the Tunk Lake and Donnell Pond Maine Public Reserve units and beyond.
The expansion of recreational opportunities in this region allows FBC to enhance the ecological value of the conserved lands. By creating this unique opportunity for visitors to engage with the land and the waters, FBC hopes to foster an ongoing appreciation of open spaces, while supporting the tourism-based economy of Downeast Maine. With the popularity of outdoor recreation in the Acadia region of Maine, new trails are being welcomed by locals and visitors alike.
Those interested in the canoe loan program should contact Kat Deely, Land Protection Officer at Frenchman Bay Conservancy at [emailÂ protected] to make a reservation.
More information on Day Ridges Preserve and a trail map can be found at https://frenchmanbay.org/preserve/day-ridges-preserve/.