Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 10, 2017
Breaking trail at John B. Mountain
BHHT finishes new spur by Long Cove
BHHT executive director Hans Carlson clears newly cut trees from the trail in early December. Watch a video on breaking the new trail at weeklypacket.com.
by Anne Berleant
What does it take to create a new walking trail through the woods?
About one to two years of planning, Blue Hill Heritage Trust Associate Director George Fields said early last December.
Fields was out in the woods, chainsaw in hand and goggle and protective gear in place, ready to break a new portion of a spur off the trail that leads to John B. Mountain, a BHHT-owned parcel with a Maine Coast Heritage Trust conservation easement.
The spur heads down an incline before rising back up and around to Long Cove for a 0.4 mile there-and-back walk from the spur’s start. It is about a quarter mile from the parking lot.
“There are steeper approaches,” Fields said, “But I decided to start in the middle because it’s fairly flat.”
Seven months later, he returned, with two summer interns, to build a bridge over a narrow creek, clear the spring growth and mark the trail.
“The biggest thing in creating a new trail is transporting and lugging stuff out here,” Fields said. BHHT intern Tyler Brentwood, Penobscot resident and 2017 George Stevens Academy graduate, and Maine Coast Heritage Trust intern Devon Funt, up from Unity College, helped with the heavy lifting, and volunteer Leslie Becker assisted in clipping new and old growth along the trail. Maine Coast Heritage Trust funds the intern positions working for BHHT.
The walk is banked by low, lush ferns in places and mixed-wood trees in others.
“There’s not a lot of boulders and erratics popping up,” Fields said. “But you have this nice stream here. It’s picturesque.”
When mapping a new trail, creating a “minimum disturbance” to the natural habitat takes priority, Fields said. “That’s the primary importance, along with the destination, of course.”
The trail, on a conservation easement donated in 2012 by Joel and Ruth Davis, will eventually cross Long Cove, a tidal stream that empties into Horseshoe Cove, by bridge, but for now it marks the end of the new spur, a spot to pause and perhaps spot an osprey circling above.
A recent, and leisurely, Saturday hike up and down 250 foot John B. Mountain and then down the new spur to Long Cove took about 90 minutes. Not up to mountain climbing? Continue down the short spur, Old School House Road, a fairly level trail that ends at the conservation property line.
This story has been modified from its original version to correct typographical errors.