Orono Land Trust: Stillwater River Trail & Gould’s Landing
This is the third of a series.
A priority of the Orono Land Trust is to protect areas within minutes of people’s homes. Connectivity between preserved spaces is constantly on the board’s agenda. This article illustrates how our mission for water access is being met. The Stillwater River Trail is a wonder as the trail is only possible with the permission of many, many private landowners. One private landowner even allows access across their lawn! The public is asked to respect all these landowners and stay on the trail. The trail is a joint effort of the Town of Orono and OLT. The trail is about 2 miles long one way, stretching from Main Street, Orono to close to the bridge on Stillwater Avenue in Stillwater. “Busy as a beaver” is a catch phrase while walking this trail. The beaver has felled many trees and beaver houses and their “caches” can be seen. Water birds are abundant and watercraft can be seen from the trail. Much of the trail from Brownie’s Park to Stillwater has poison ivy that walkers need to be aware of. Brownie’s Park, named for former resident Carleton Brown, is located across from Noyes Avenue and a parking area is located off Bennoch Road beside the park. Canoes can be launched from Brownie’s Park and canoe races are currently run from this park in the summer and are open to all. It is also a popular swimming area. A monument to the OLT founder and original president, Sally Jacobs is positioned in Brownie’s Park.
The Gould’s Landing Trail is at the end of Essex Street on Pushaw Lake. Parking is in the nearby Nadeau-Savoy Park. This property is owned by the State of Maine and is being used for mitigation. OLT will own the land once the value for mitigation is exhausted. Wetland mitigation involves protecting land at one site to compensate for the modification or destruction of wetlands at another location. This property has a trail which makes a 1 mile loop. The Maine Conservation Corps constructed an excellent boardwalk and rock path at the beginning of the trail. From the trail there are a couple of lookouts onto Pushaw Lake where loons, herons, marsh hawks and other birds can be seen. A bench is present for your enjoyment. The forest includes oaks, beech, birch and maple and trilliums are abundant in the spring. Note the large boulder along the trail that has moss, ferns, and a variety of other plants growing on it. A hill on the trail is called “Pantyhose Hill” due to the inordinate amount of pantyhose found in an old dump near that spot. This is a very nice quiet spot for walkers and birders.
Trail maps can be downloaded at: www.oronolandtrust.org. OLT is an All-Volunteer Accredited organization. Membership dues help OLT maintain trails. Please become a member online.