Opening of a new nature reserve with 3 km of hiking trails in Gouldsboro

Outdoor enthusiasts in and around Hancock County now have new adventures to experience in the coastal town of Gouldsboro.

Frenchman Bay Conservancy has opened its Day Ridges Reserve, which encompasses areas around the Lower West Bay and Upper West Bay Ponds.

The new recreation area includes hiking trails and a paddler trail, both accessible from a parking lot and trailhead located on Route 1 just under 1 mile east of the highway intersection 195.

Frenchman Bay Conservancy has created 2 miles of hiking trails and access to a paddler trail that begins at Lower West Bay Pond. It provides access to a rustic campsite on the Upper West Bay Pond.

Visitors can access the water either by walking in the woods or by taking one of the two nature trails available. A system of bridges in the bog allows visitors to experience glacial erratic boulders, rocks deposited in an area where they are different from those native to a location. There is also access to a cedar swamp.

Frenchman Bay Conservancy has opened its Day Ridges Reserve in Gouldsboro, which offers hiking and canoeing opportunities. Credit: Courtesy of Frenchman Bay Conservancy

The Day Ridges Preserve Nature Trails were built during the summers of 2020 and 2021 and included over 800 hours of volunteer work. The unit and other land around the ponds was purchased with funds from a US Fish and Wildlife Service grant program to help protect key habitat for wading birds and other species.

The reserve connects with a wildlife corridor from the Schoodic Peninsula – where much of the National Park Service is located – to Schoodic Mountain near the state of Maine-owned Donnell Pond unit.

The Frenchman Bay Conservancy hopes the new reserve will help encourage residents and visitors to Maine to continue supporting the tourism-based economy in the East.

The reserve also offers a canoe loan program. Guests must register in advance to use the canoes, which are kept on site and are free. Cards, paddles and personal flotation devices are also provided.

Camping at the rustic Upper West Bay Pond site also requires pre-registration. Contact Kat Deely, Frenchman Bay Conservancy Land Protection Officer at [email protected] to make a reservation.

More information on Day Ridges Preserve and a trail map can be found here.

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