The Intervale Preserve in New Gloucester provides some of the Royal River watershed’s most valuable habitat for migratory birds, waterfowl, and game birds. It is owned and managed by RRCT. The preserve currently consists of three parcels along the river, totaling 100 acres of conserved land and 35 acres of additional conservation easements.
1. The northernmost parcel at Intervale Road features a half-mile loop trail and a hand-carry boat launch site.
2. The second parcel is located south of Route 231 and north of Penney Road along the Royal River. There are no trails or easy access points via land to get to this parcel at this time.
3. The third, southernmost parcel at Penney Road allows river access via a small parking area and hand-carry boat launch.
The flat half-mile loop trail at the 100-acre Intervale Road parcel along the Royal River provides gentle walking with occasional plank bridges to avoid wet areas. The forested trail provides views onto the river’s fresh water flood plain marsh and vernal pools, a popular destination for birders and sports. The marsh is an outstanding vantage point for observing migrating birds especially in May of each year. The trail includes one bench for resting and a picnic table.
Overview Map of all three preserved areas along the Intervale – Downloadable PDF
Map of Hiking Trails at Intervale Preserve at Intervale Road – Downloadable PDF
Map of Intervale Preserve at Penney Road – Downloadable PDF
Intervale Preserve at Maine Trail Finder
To find the trail at the Intervale Road parcel:
– From the South: From Pineland Farms, follow Route 231 North/Intervale Road for 4.4 miles. The parking lot and trailhead will be on your right, 1/4 mile past the intersection with Woodman Road.
– From the North/West: From Cobbs Bridge Road or New Gloucester Village, take Route 231 South/Intervale Road for 1 mile. The trailhead will be on your left. Ample parking is available on the wide grassy shoulder of the road. The hiking trail begins at kiosk with blue signage on the side of the road near the railroad tracks.
– Address for GPS : 642 Intervale Road, New Gloucester
To find the Intervale Preserve at Penney Road:
– From New Gloucester Village: Head Southeast on Route 231 South for 3.9 miles. Take a right onto Penney Road and continue 0.8 mile. The parking area will be on your right.
– From North Yarmouth Village: Head North on Route 231 N for 5.6 miles. Take a left onto Penney Road and continue 0.8 mile. The parking area will be on your right.
– Address for GPS: 520 Penney Rd, New Gloucester, ME 04260
The stretch of the Royal River from the Intervale Preserve at Penney Road downstream to Wescustogo Park is a wonderful 8.1 mile high-water paddling trip. Public hand-carry boat access can be found on both ends – at RRCT’s Intervale Preserve Penney Road property and at Wescustogo Park. Landowner courtesies or steep scrambles are required for earlier take-out. More information on the Royal River Water Trail is here.
The Royal Treasures activity allows kids of all ages to find unique pieces of sculpture installed in special places within the preserve. Each sculpture helps interpret the ecology, history, and natural dynamics of the preserve. Learn more, find instructions, artists statements, and a printable treasure map.
Discover the Royal River and its Tributaries. This four-page guide to the living history of the Intervale provides more detail on the history of fishing, forests, farms, and railroads of the Intervale.
Living History of the Intervale – Downloadable PDF
Dogs are welcome on leash or voice control, with strict attention to pet waste removal. Smoking is prohibited at all RRCT Preserves. Public use of the abutting active railroad properties is prohibited by Maine law, to protect public safety. The Preserve is open for daytime use only. Safe and responsible hunting and trapping on the Preserve is encouraged. Hikers should always wear orange during hunting season, on all hikes.
The Intervale Preserve provides boat access at two locations, at 642 Intervale Road, and also at Penney Road’s Royal River crossing on the upriver northeast corner of the bridge. CMP powerline construction access rights will restrict parking and river access at Penney Road in 2019. The Preserve provides two undeveloped access points to the Royal River for bank fishing and boat launching for paddling, fishing, and hunting by boat. This section of the river may be only be suitable for informed boaters due to variable water levels and occasional trees or beaver dams blocking passage. When paddling, please respect private landowner signage along the river regarding fiddlehead harvest and hunting.
The Penney Road parcel supports a snowmobile connecting trail. CMP powerline construction rights will be used on this trail corridor in 2019, disrupting traffic. The parcels at Intervale Road and Penney Road are both open for hunting and trapping. Please respect any postings of neighbors.
Combined, the land under RRCT’s Intervale conservation ownership and easements protect 2 shoreline miles of the mainstem of the Royal River. Nearby conservation efforts of state agencies means that a total of 250 acres of the Intervale and 3 shore miles of the Royal River are now protected. The Intervale is largely comprised of lush meandering oxbows. It provides some of the Royal River watershed’s most valuable habitat, supporting migratory birds, waterfowl, and game birds.
Owned by the Royal River Conservation Trust, the initial parcel of the Preserve was donated for conservation by Jan Erikson and Nan Butterfield in 1991. Initial trail work and kiosk installation funded by L.L. Bean and others was completed in 2011 under the direction of RRCT staff and many volunteers. Sculptures were installed in October, 2013. In 2017, the Preserve was significantly expanded by three separate transactions, including expansion to the Penney Road to protect habitat, boat access to the river, and a key snowmobile trail connector. This work was funded by Royal River Water Trail grants from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and others, and involved partnerships with the Town of New Gloucester selectmen, Central Maine Power, and others.