Outdoor enthusiasts in and around Hancock County now have some new adventures to take in the coastal town of Gouldsboro.
Frenchman Bay Conservancy has opened its Day Ridges Preserve, which encompasses areas around Lower West Bay Pond and Upper West Bay Pond.
The new recreational area includes hiking trails and a paddlers trail, both of which can be accessed from a parking lot and trailhead located on Route 1 just under 1 mile east of the intersection of Route 195.
Frenchman Bay Conservancy has created 2 miles of hiking trails and access to a paddlers trail that begins on Lower West Bay Pond. It provides access to a rustic campsite on Upper West Bay Pond.
Visitors may access the water either by walking through the woods or by taking one of two available nature trails. A system of bridges in the bog make it possible for visitors to experience glacial erratics, rocks that are deposited in an area where they are different from those native to a place. There also is access to a cedar swamp.
The Day Ridges Preserve nature trails were constructed during the summers of 2020 and 2021 and included more than 800 hours of work from volunteers. The unit, and other land around the ponds, were purchased with funds from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant program to help protect key habitat for wading birds and other species.
The preserve is connected to a wildlife corridor from Schoodic Peninsula — where there is a large holding of the National Park Service — up to Schoodic Mountain near the Donnell Pond Unit owned by the State of Maine.
The Frenchman Bay Conservancy hopes the new preserve will help encourage Maine residents and visitors to continue supporting the tourism-based economy Down East.
The conservancy also offers a canoe loan program. Patrons must preregister to use the canoes, which are kept on site and are free. Maps, paddles and personal floatation devices also are provided.
Camping at the rustic site on Upper West Bay Pond also requires preregistration. Contact Frenchman Bay Conservancy Land Protection Manager Kat Deely at email@example.com to make a reservation.
More information about Day Ridges Preserve and a trail map can be found here.