Moosehead Region Non-motorized Trails Planning

Non-motorized Trail Development and Enhancement in the Moosehead Lake Region - a Collaborative Project between the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, Plum Creek, and the Moosehead Lake Region Community

Project News:

Informal updates available at the bluewatersgreenforests blog.

2014 Construction Season Update
In 2014, Nearly 7 miles of hiking trail were constructed or rehabilitated directly through the Moosehead Lake Region trails project. Details are shared in the bullets below and via a short set of downloadable pdf slides also below.

  • The Eagle Rock Trail project involved 3.7 miles of new trail construction creating a new hiking trail from the East Moore Bog Rd. in the Little Moose Public Lands to two distinct viewpoints on the northwestern ridge of Big Moose Mt.eagle rock new trail cut

The trail is primarily on land owned in fee by Plum Creek, though the access road and parking is on the Bureau’s Little Moose Public Lands property. A downloadable pdf flyer documenting the trail details is available below.

  • The #4 Mountain Trail work involved 1.75 miles of redesigned/improved hiking trail accessed from a to-be-developed trailhead off the Meadow Brook Rd. in Frenchtown TWP. Another approximately 1.4 miles of new trail beyond the summit’s fire tower was partially cleared in 2014. 2015 construction work should address creating a formal parking area (trailhead), completion of the new trail section started in 2014, and the extension of the trail to Baker Mt. (pending permitting and approvals).

Moosehead Trails 2014 Update (PDF 1.66MB)

Eagle Rock Trail Fact Sheet (PDF 351KB)

Planning Update
Planning and field work continues to identify and prioritize trail projects to be established through this project. In 2014, trail layout work was completed on a half-mile of portages on the Moose River associated with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, as well as on over 6 miles of potential hike/mountain bike trail in the Blue Ridge area in Bowdoin College Grant West TWP. Additionally, potential trail locations were laid out on Baker Mt. in Beaver Cover TWP. and Elephant Mt. in Bowdoin College Grant West TWP. Trail easements have been obtained for the half-mile (total) portage trails on the Moose River in Sandwich Academy Grant while the other potential trail routes listed above currently await further planning and approval.

Moose River Map

map of the moose river area in the Sandwich Academy Grant TWP and showing the Demo bridge site and Stony Brook Rapids portage site.

All trail locations for the project need to be finalized by May, 2016. 2015 will be a big year for locating and laying out remaining trail opportunities. Though most of the identification and prioritization of possible trail locations is complete, ideas and inquiries from the public is still welcomed. More specific details on 2014/2015 planning can be found in the set of downloadable pdf slides available above.

Project Description:

Planning for Non-motorized Trail Development and Enhancement in the Moosehead Lake Region

What is the opportunity?View towards Moosehead Lake from the end of Eagle Rock.

The Moosehead Lake Region Concept Plan was established by Plum Creek with approval by the Maine Land Use Planning Commission. The Plan includes a:

  • Trails Easement
    • 121 acres of trails easement may be located on Plum Creek's 363,000-acre Moosehead region Conservation Easement.
  • Dedicated Fund of One Million Dollars
    • Enabling the construction of new non-motorized trails, enhancement of existing trails, and the establishment of up to five new trailhead parking areas serving these trails.
    • Available to support trail planning, creation, and improvement on the easement lands and on Bureau of Parks and Lands properties or interests in the Moosehead Lake Region.

Where are trail developments associated with this project possible?

New trails may be located:

  • On the Moosehead Region Conservation Easement, which spans 360,000 acres in 26 townships (17 in Somerset County and 9 in Piscataquis County). See project area map below. Locations of trails on the conservation easement are approved by the landowner - Plum Creek. A total of 121.8 acres may be used to establish trail easements on Plum Creek property in the concept area - easement widths may vary but shall be at least 15 feet wide.
  • On properties in the region in which the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands holds an interest or complete fee ownership.

Funding may be used to rehabilitate existing trails on Bureau properties in the region.

Moosehead Lake Region map

Project Area Map. Note: Area depicted in:

  • Pink represents the Moosehead Region Conservation Easement.
  • Green represents the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands fee-owned properties.

What types of trail projects are under consideration?

The trail easement and implementation agreement both limit trail projects to primitive, non-motorized trails available to the public. The easement prohibits impervious surfaces, such as pavement. Essentially:

  • A range of non-motorized trails ranging from easy walking paths to strenuous backpacking circuits are candidates for development or improvement.
  • Hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, canoe/kayak portaging, and wildlife/environmental observation are all potential trail activities targeted through this effort.

The table below lists leading candidates for trail easements and funding.

Leading Trail Concepts Table

Little Moose Public Lands / Big Moose Mt. Area
Trail Concept
Miles
Township

Eagle Rock Trail* to Big Moose Mt. Trail.*

*Existing Trails.

2 (est.)
Big Moose
Little Moose Public Lands Western Boundary Trail & Little Moose Public Lands Big Moose Mt. (trailhead) to Big Moose Pond Link.
8 (est.)
Moosehead Junction
Lily Bay Mts. Area
Trail Concept
Miles
Township

Lily Bay Mt. from saddle.

2 (est.)
Frenchtown
#4/Lily Bay Mts. saddle to-Baker Mt. NW Arm & on to AMC Boundary.
5 (est.)

Frenchtown/
Beaver Cove

#4 Mt. Extension (Meadow Brook Rd. Trailhead to Frenchtown Rd.) - would provide guaranteed trail access from a public road to the current #4 Mt. Trail.*
*Existing Trail.
2 (est.) Frenchtown
Elephant Mt. (includes B-52 site in general, link to AMC trails, and day-use destination to ledges on south face). 2 (est.) Bowdoin College
Grant West
Blue Ridge Area
Trail Concept
Miles
Township

Blue Ridge: Rum Pond to AMC Boundary.

8 (est.)
Bowdoin College
Grant West
Moose River Area
Trail Concept
Miles
Township
Long Pond Mt. Viewing Area (off Rt. 6/15).
<0.25 (est.)
Sandwich Academy
Other Trail Concepts
Spencer Pond to Roach River, Williams Mt., Big W. TWP Trail, East Outlet & general Rockwood to Greenville connectivity), interest in an active trails (e.g., hike/run/ski) near Greenville (Little Moose Public Land mentioned).

When will this all happen?

Planning, including seeking public input, and the construction are underway. Total project work, including construction, must be completed by July, 2018.

How can I learn more and get involved?

Anyone with an interest in learning more, sharing their thoughts, and/or volunteering should contact Rex Turner (contact information below). Please check back to this webpage to view project updates. As public input opportunities arise, including scheduled meetings, the time and location of those opportunities will be described here. Additionally, informal updates, such as photos from the field, descriptions of possible trail improvements, and other project-related posts will be shared under a "Moosehead Lake Region Trails" tag at the bluewatersgreenforests blog.

A local advisory committee has been formed and is helping guide preliminary planning and will be analyzing wider public comments and suggestions. Members of this committee are listed below.

Advisory Committee Members

  • Rex Turner (Project Coordinator) - Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands
  • Luke Muzzy - Plum Creek
  • Bryan Wentzell - Appalachian Mountain Club
  • Karin Tilberg - Forest Society of Maine
  • Bob Hamer - Moosehead Lake Chamber of Commerce (retired)
  • Bob Guethlen - Area resident - trails advocate
  • Cynthia Orcutt- Maine Huts and Trails
  • Jenny Ward - Area resident - Area resident - trails advocate

Questions or comments can be directed to:

Rex Turner
Outdoor Recreation Planner
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands
22 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
(207) 287-4920
Informal updates available at the bluewatersgreenforests blog.