Bradbury-Pineland Corridor Trails

thumbnail of Bradbury-Pineland_Corridor_Apr2015_smallThe Bradbury-Pineland Corridor consists of a network of both polished and rough trails that connect Bradbury Mountain State Park to the Pineland Public Reserved Land. The trail originates in Pownal at Bradbury Mountain State Park, heads west over Tryon Mountain and past the scenic Tryon fields, and then joins with the CMP power line where the trail heads south along Thoit’s Brook and Chandler Brook. The trail then connects to the trail network at the Pineland Public Reserved Lands Unit in Gray and North Yarmouth. Various side trails or spurs extend from the main corridor.

The trails are primarily for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. Especially in Pineland Public Reserved Lands Unit, only narrow planks help hikers and bike riders cross wet spots. Allowed uses also include skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, and snowmobiling in some locations. Please note that these trails, especially those snowmobile trails along the CMP powerline corridor, will never meet the expectations of the average hiker or bike rider, and lack signage for easy navigation except when snowmobile tracks are obvious.

More Information

Trailheads
  1. Bradbury Mountain State Park is on Route 9 in Pownal, just north of Pownal Village.
  2. A parking area and mid-point trailhead is located on the west side of Lawrence Road 0.9 miles north of Elmwood Road. The GPS address to use is 53 Lawrence Road, Pownal, ME.
  3. Various trails cross various public roads including Elmwood, Chadsey, Sweetser, and more.
  4. The primary trailhead for Pineland Public Reserved Lands Unit is on Depot Road in Gray.

Maps

Pownal Segments Hiking Trail Map – Downloadable PDF
Gray/North Yarmouth Segments Hiking Trail Map – Downloadable PDF
Pineland Public Reserved Land at Maine Trail Finder

Trails

The state’s formally named Bradbury-Pineland Corridor Trail begins at the junction with the Boundary Trail in the northwest corner of Bradbury Mountain State Park. From here, the trail heads west past Thoit’s Brook, and then a spur heads up to the summit of Tryon Mountain where you’ll find old quarries and opportunities to explore for minerals and treasures. As the trail winds through deep woods in state park land known as “The Corridor,” you’ll come across old stone walls and ledges.

Upon reaching the parking area and trailhead at Lawrence Road, the trail then heads west past Tryon Fields, which are maintained for wildlife, scenery, and winter sledding. Spur trails head north and south parallel to Chandler Brook (no mountain bikes are allowed on these spur trails). The main trail crosses Chandler Brook, which is stocked with brook trout. This is an inviting and accessible section; large bridges provide safe crossings of Thoit’s Brook and Chandler Brook.

At the junction of state park land and the CMP power line corridor, the trail heads south to connect to the Pineland Public Reserved Land. The trails here are suitable for winter uses, but challenging in the summer at two bridge locations and some wet areas. In many places the trails are CMP service roads; in other cases the trails are variable depending upon the extent of recent mowing and signage. Plan to dismount from bikes or walk carefully on bridges along the power line. Bridges along the powerline do not safely support equestrian traffic. Gates that are open in the winter may be closed in summer even though summer uses are permitted by CMP and Maine BPL.

Soon after crossing the railroad, the trail enters the woods into the Pineland Public Reserved Lands Unit. About 0.4 miles after crossing New Gloucester Road the corridor trail connects to the trail network at Pineland Public Reserved Land. These trails are on state forest in Gray, North Yarmouth, and New Gloucester. They do not connect to nearby Pineland Farms’ extensive private trail networks.

Conservation History and Context

In total, the State Parks & Lands ownership creating the Bradbury-Pineland matrix and corridor transitioned from 300 acres in 1970, to 2,085 acres by 2010, including 300 acres of Royal River Conservation Trust conservation easements and trail rights. Various expansions of both Bradbury State Park and the Pineland Public Reserved Lands (PRL)  Unit were among the first projects of both the Royal River Conservation Trust (then known as the Pownal Land Trust) and the then-new  Land for Maine’s Future program.

Today, the Pineland PRL is 600 acres in Gray, North Yarmouth, Pownal, and New Gloucester.   The PRL’s history includes:

  • 1974 creation of the Pineland PRL
  • 1994 expansion of Pineland PRL
  • 1996 adjacent Pownal State School closed its doors
  • 1999 expansion of Pineland PRL
  • 2000 Libra Foundation acquisition of Pownal State School campus
  • 2000 Libra transfer-expansion of land to the PRL.
  • 2003 – 2007 Expansion to include park-managed PRL in Pownal (the Corridor and Tryon), with help from Land for Maine’s Future and Pownal Land Trust (now RRCT).

Five park expansions — many aligned with the larger Corridor project, illustrate the relationship of RRCT and Bradbury State Park.  Through a mix of funding, partnerships and networks, RRCT helped expand the park five times:

  • 1990:  Knight expansion (100 acres) with Land for Maine’s Future funding
  • 1996:  Spiegel-Marshall expansion (153 acres) adjacent to Knight
  • 2003: Ginn expansion (88 acres)
  • 2004: Ragan expansion (16 acres)
  • 2007: McMahon expansion (9 acres)

RRCT conservation easements and trail parcels or easements buffer or connect to the park and the corridor.  In addition to three trail deeds, 300 acres of RRCT conservation easement buffers exist off Elmwood, Lawrence, Sweeter, Chadsey, and Fieldstone Drive, including the iconic Knight’s Farm (now Bradbury Mountain Berry Farm) and two miles of trails along Chandler Brook in Pownal.

This history of the Pownal Land Trust (now Royal River Conservation Trust), Bradbury Mountain State Park, Pineland Public Reserved Land, and conservation land in Pownal is richly detailed in a 2008 book, “On Pownal Time, One Hundred Years in a Rural Maine Town, 1908-2008,” as well as State management planning documents.

Rules and Regulations

Hunting
Hunting is allowed near many trails in The Corridor, but prohibited in some sections of Bradbury State Park. Hunters and trail users should always use caution and wear orange;  trail users should consider using other trails during hunting season. Trails on Pineland Public Reserved Lands allow hunting and are open to the public at no charge. Nearby well-managed Pineland Farms trails do not allow hunting and require payment.

Private Landowners
Some of the Corridor is private land, with public deeded rights.  Please comply with any and all posted rules or signs along the trail, especially respecting private property postings.  Please stay on marked trails, and respect the many private landowners who both host marked trails and ask that their private trails, fields, and forests be respected.  Some private landowners allow special public events or snowmobile usage on their trails upon request, but do not allow general public access.

Dogs & Horses

Pets are best on trails when they are on leash; leashes are required on many trails. Pets and wildlife benefit when pets stay on trails. Dogs are sometimes prohibited in sensitive deer yards in the Corridor. Dogs can considerably disrupt game and habitat, especially during winter when deer are exhausted by deep snow;  keeping dogs on leash or under strict control on paths is appreciated by hunters and wildlife. Please always remove pet and horse waste, even in remote trail sections. Pet waste is a significant factor in the water quality of fishing brooks like Chandler Brook. Trails on Pineland Public Reserved Lands allow dogs and are open to the public at no charge. Nearby well-managed Pineland Farms trails do not allow dogs and require payment.

Spoiler title
  • On Pineland Public Reserve Land trails in North Yarmouth (between Rt 231 and Chadsey), there are trail closures due to a major blowdown. Plan to either avoid that trail or bypass the blowdown through open woods, and expect trail work and re-routing if and when the state prioritizes this work.
  • As of 2017, major new connector path is now open, and shows on the “Pownal segments” map running along Chandler Brook and connecting Elmwood Road to Lawrence Road (Tryon) and Sweetser Road.  Bikes are not allowed on this path.
  • Significant trailwork took place at Bradbury State Park and Pineland Public Reserved Lands during summer 2017, thanks to full crews with the Maine Conservation Corps. Continued significant work is planned at Bradbury and the Tryon-Chandler corridor in 2018.
  • In 2017 the snowmobile club rebuilt the trail bridge just north of Elmwood Road along the CMP corridor. This makes for much easier bike riding and hiking.  Nonetheless, the CMP corridor remains primarily a winter trail, with irregular mowing, wet sections, and limited signage.
  • The local snowmobile club provides maintenance and mapping of connecting snowmobile trails along CMPs corridors and nearby towns.

Future Plans

The Royal River Conservation Trust is working with the Town of Pownal and Bradbury Mountain State Park to develop and publish maps of additional trail connections in 2018 or later. Contact us for more information on our plans.

Bradbury-Pineland Corridor Photo Gallery