RRCT’s New Gloucester Intervale consists of 100 non-contiguous acres of RRCT conservation ownership, along with 35 acres of conservation easements, in total protecting two shoreline miles of the mainstem of the Royal River. When adding the nearby conservation ownership and conservation easements of state agencies, 250 acres of the Intervale is now protected, totaling three shoreline miles of conserved shoreline, largely comprised of lush meadering oxbows. The Intervale provides some of the Royal River watershed’s most valuable habitat supporting migratory birds, waterfowl, and game birds.
Walking-hiking: Trailhead GPS address 642 Intervale Road, New Gloucester: The flat half-mile loop trail off Route 231 (Intervale Road) provides gentle walking opportunities. The forested trail passes through what was a pasture a century ago, providing views onto the river’s fresh water flood plain marsh and vernal pools. The trail is largely dry and well maintained, and contains split log or parallel plank bridges which require balance and shoes with traction. The hiking trail begins at a large kiosk on the side of the road, near the railroad tracks. The trail includes one bench for resting, and a picnic table. Dogs are welcome, but 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.
Directions to trailhead: From the intersection of Intervale Road & Cobbs Bridge Road in New Gloucester Village, proceed south on ME 231 one mile and look for a blue sign on a kiosk on the left, just after crossing the first set of railroad tracks. From the other direction, proceed north on ME 231 several miles past Pineland Farms, and look for a blue sign on a kiosk on the right, 1/4 mile north of Woodman Road, after crossing one set of railroad tracks and immediately after crossing the Royal River, but just before the second set of tracks. Ample parking is available on the wide grassy shoulder of the road.
Boat access (hand-carry): The preserve provides boat access at two locations, at 642 Intervale Road, and also at Penney Road’s Royal River crossing, New Gloucester, North East corner of the bridge (Upriver, and toward Rt. 231). CMP powerline construction access rights will restrict parking and river access at Penney Road in 2019. The Preserve provides two undeveloped access points for bank fishing and boat launching for paddling, fishing, and hunting by boat on the Royal River. This section of the Royal River may be suitable only 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. Paddling downriver from Penney Road, there is no formal public invited take-out point until North Yarmouth’s Wescustogo Park. Landowner courtesies or steep scrambles are required for earlier take-out. Information on the Royal River Water Trail is here.
Snowmobile access (Penney Road): The Penney Road parcel supports a snowmobile connecting trail. CMP powerline construction rights will be used on this trail corridor in 2019, disrupting traffic.
Hunting access: (Penney Road and Intervale Road): RRCT’s ownership in the Intervale is open for hunting and trapping. Enjoy! Please respect any postings of neighbors.
History: Owned by the Royal River Conservation Trust, the initial parcel of the Preserve was donated for conservation by Jan Erickson 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.
Royal Treasures, Royal Treasure Maps:
Various artists installed small sculptures at this preserve, as part of our “Royal Treasures/Royal Treasure Maps” project. Treasure maps (bring crayons!) for kids to make rubbings of the treasures on the treasure maps can be printed-out on an 8.5 x 11 printer here:
The Royal Treasure Map 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.
1. Bring a crayon, or many colors of crayon.
2. Find a treasure using the map and the narrative clues on the map.
3. Use the crayon to make a rubbing of the treasure, on the blank square on the Treasure Map, next to the clue that matches the treasure.
4. Find all four treasures, make four rubbings.
The Royal Treasures project at New Gloucester’s Intervale Preserve is the work of five contributors:
Jordan Smith (Granite Bench, Royal River Oxbows): Jordan grew up in New Gloucester, spending his childhood enjoying the Intervale Preserve. His granite bench traces the path of the Royal River and its oxbows as it winds through New Gloucester. Jordan now works as Jordan Smith Sculpture and as Rocksmith in Pownal.
Mike Sproul (Carbon Footprint): Mike is an engineer for Pam Am Railways, driving trains on the tracks running along the Intervale Preserve. A passionate hunter and paddler, Mike’s footprints carved into the kiosk evoke both Leave No Trace culture, and reminders of carbon footprints from individuals and society.
Laurie Sproul (Wild Leek): Laurie is a sculptor living and working in Brownville, Maine. Her floral sculpture is increasingly influenced by the struggle of nature in a warming world. Using local woods, her new works play out the drama unfolding in our ecosystems as species struggle to adapt. Native wild leek along the Royal River is largely crowded out by non-native invasive plants, including Japanese knotweed and honeysuckle.
Evan Haynes (Diatoms, Copper and Glass): Evan is a sculptor living in North Yarmouth and New Zealand. Etched into the glass block of this Royal Treasure are diatoms and other types of algae. These microscopic plants are among the largest and ecologically most significant group of organisms on the planet. They serve as the base of the aquatic food web, and through the process of photosynthesis, provide us half of the oxygen we breathe. The inspiration for the etching came from images of the microscopic algae captured from Royal River samples analyzed by the FlowCAM, an imaging particle analyzer manufactured by Fluid Imaging Technologies in Scarborough.
Stephanie Goggin (Interpretation): Stephanie is an outdoor environmental educator living in Yarmouth. “My childhood was full of muddy, wet and dirty adventures. I love being able to join my son as he explores and discovers nature for the first time. I’m thrilled that my son is developing an affinity for Maine by exploring and adventuring.”