HANCOCK — Members of the Maine Conservation Corps have been slogging away on the Pettengill Preserve’s new trail.
Beginning at Point Road, the crew of six is constructing a half-mile, low-impact trail with bog bridges to connect to existing trails, including a short trail to the preserve’s historic old stone foundation and well.
The Crabtree Neck Land Trust applied for the 2014 Recreational Trail Program, which is administered by the Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands. A Maine State Rail Committee reviews the applications and advises the parks and public lands division in awarding grants.
“We were so excited to get it,” said Linda King, a member of the land trust’s board of directors. “It’s really big for a small land trust.”
The program is funded by a portion of the federal gasoline tax for recreational, non-gasoline supported roads. In other words: trails.
The land trust received $16,000 to construct the new trail and, as required, matched 20 percent of that amount with an additional $4,000.
The team of Maine Conservation Corps workers began the project in late October and was finishing up last week.
“Things have been going pretty fantastic,” said John Mylroie, the team leader. “The site sponsors and everyone have been absolutely great.”
The crew is bunking in an old farmhouse on Point Road.
“It’s gorgeous,” Mylroie said. “It’s ripped from Town and Country.”
King said the application for the program included letters of support from community organizations, which include the town of Hancock’s Board of Selectmen, Hancock Grammar School, the Hancock Woman’s Club, Boy Scout Troop 94, Healthy Acadia, the Hancock County Planning Commission as well as local legislators and conservation groups.
“There are a lot of old trails back there that people who know where they are use them, but people who don’t aren’t able to,” King said. “This will provide a way for people to get in and enjoy them.”
The preserve stretches over 143 acres of land. The distance of the trails, which pass through mossy forest areas, granite ledge sections, cedar growth as well as seasonal wetlands, total about 1.25 miles. They can be used for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and moderate off-road biking.
“We want to preserve the area’s habitat,” King said. “While the Pettengill family is no longer evident in Hancock, CNLT recognizes their part in the history of our town.”
The Pettengill Preserve is named after the Pettengill family. In the latter half of the 1700s, Edward Pettengill settled in Hancock at a time when Hancock was part of Sullivan and Maine was part of Massachusetts.
King said the Pettengill family was active in ship building and repairing as well as seafaring. It is believed that the old stone foundation and well are part of the original settlement.
“This new trail will give people the opportunity to be out in the woods and appreciate nature and the beautiful mossy areas,” King said. “Our hope is that, at some point, this becomes part of a network of trails people can use year-round.”