GOULDSBORO — Frenchman Bay Conservancy (FBC) has completed the construction of a paddlers trail and hiking trails at its Day Ridges Preserve and formally opened the preserve to the public. The parking lot and trailhead are located .9 miles east of the Route 195 intersection with Route 1.
The Day Ridges Preserve offers 2 miles of hiking trails and access to a paddler’s trail that begins on Lower West Bay Pond and allows access to a rustic campsite on Upper West Bay Pond. Visitors can walk the woods road directly to the pond for water access or walk one of two nature trails. Extensive bog bridging allows hikers to explore a cedar swamp and wind around impressive glacial erratics. At the junction of the white-and-blue trail loops, visitors can stop to take in a view of the beaver pond.
Frenchman Bay Conservancy is also offering a canoe loan program; canoes are kept onsite and can be borrowed from the conservancy at no cost but with prior registration. Paddling maps, paddles and lifejackets are provided. Camping at the rustic site on Upper West Bay Pond is available by prior registration as well. The paddler’s trail is designed to be an easy first-time canoeing experience, with a short portage section and easy paddling.
The nature trails at Day Ridges Preserve were built during summer 2020 and 2021. Despite delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 800 hours of dedicated volunteer work went into completing these trails.
The Day Ridges Preserve and additional land spanning Lower and Upper West Bay Pond were acquired with funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service NAWCA grant program to protect the critical habitat of the two ponds serving populations of inland wading birds and waterfowl, among other species of interest. This landscape is an FBC priority focus area because of the intact, forested landscape stretching from the Schoodic District of Acadia National Park, north to the Tunk Lake and Donnell Pond Maine Public Reserve units and beyond.
Expanding recreation opportunities in this area allows FBC to showcase the ecological value of conserved lands. By creating this unique opportunity for visitors to engage with the land and waters, FBC hopes to foster a continued appreciation for open space, while supporting the tourism-based economy of Downeast Maine. With the popularity of outdoor recreation in the Acadia region of Maine, new trails are welcomed by locals and visitors alike.
Those interested in the canoe loan program should contact Frenchman Bay Conservancy’s Land Protection Manager Kat Deely at [email protected] to make a reservation.
More information about Day Ridges Preserve and a trail map can be found at https://frenchmanbay.org/preserve/day-ridges-preserve/.