Pisgah Hill Preserve

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Two separate trailheads, one at 74 Dougherty Road, and the other at 161 North Pownal Road, both in New Gloucester. The Preserve is located on a stretch of New Gloucester’s eastern boundary with Pownal, the Pisgah Hill Preserve and its ridge line provide old quarries, distinct and varied ledges, mixed forests, and beautiful ground cover of lichen and mosses. The preserve provides habitat for raptors, songbirds, upland game birds, waterfowl, deer, coyotes, snowshoe hare, fox, weasels, beavers, porcupine, other small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.  The ridgeline offers winter-time local views, including sunsets and moonrises.  The northern-most section of the preserve near the powerline includes a large wetland complex with several beaver ponds, significant vernal pools, and rich habitat. Most visitors explore this preserve on the trails that begin at the trailhead off of Dougherty Road.

More Information

Trails, Trailheads, and Access

A 1.2 mile loop trail begins at a trailhead at 74 Dougherty Road in New Gloucester. This trail does include one stream crossing and a few short steep ledges that will require some agility.  The trailhead on Dougherty Road (also knows as Chadsey Road) is 0.5 miles south of Route 231 (Intervale Road) on the left.  Or from Allen Road in Pownal, follow Chadsey Road (becomes Dougherty Road) for 0.8 miles, and look for the trailhead and four car parking lot. The parking lot is plowed in the winter.

Access to the northern, undeveloped  parcel of this preserve off North Pownal Road in New Gloucester is being developed in 2018; a short trail spur and trailhead is emerging at 161 North Pownal Road, New Gloucester, designed primarily to get hunters and off-trail enthusiasts across the powerline and onto the large undeveloped parcel. Plan to park on the shoulder of North Pownal Road.  The new trail follows a private residential driveway for a 50 feet before turning right onto RRCT’s trail corridor.  CMP construction on the powerline (see map) is planned in 2019.

Backcountry access exists across a Town of Pownal woodlot with frontage on both Sweetser and Allen Roads in Pownal. Please respect neighbors if you explore this undeveloped access point for hunting or other reasons.

Rules and Regulations
  • The preserve is open for hiking, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing on the 1.2 mile loop trail.
  • No biking is permitted.
  • Dogs are welcome, but on leash or voice control, with strict attention to pet waste removal. Due to deer wintering, we ask that dogs be on leash during periods of deep snow; deer struggle to maintain energy during the winter; dogs and humans cause them to expend precious energy.
  • Smoking is prohibited at all RRCT Preserves.
  • Equestrian use is by permission only, permission will only be denied if we feel the proposed equestrian use will exceed the capacity and conditions of the land.
  • Please respect various postings on private abutting land; many of these postings aim to protect farm animals from dogs or hunters.
  • Safe and responsible hunting  on the Preserve is encouraged. We promote safe hunting experiences and protect deer by educating users of the hiking trail and their dogs to be respectful of hunters and deer during season, including winter deer yard season. As a courtesy, please call RRCT to inform us if you plan any trapping on the parcel. Hikers should always wear orange during hunting season, on all hikes.
  • Tenting and camping is encouraged, but with permission, and well-away from trailheads or neighbors. Give us a call, and plan on strict adherence to “leave no trace” principles.

Conservation History and Ownership

Royal River Conservation Trust is the landowner of this preserve. With the support of many donors and funding sources RRCT acquired or placed conservation easements on 195 acres between 2010 and 2016, creating “Pisgah Hill Preserve – North” and “Pisgah Hill Preserve – South” blocks of conserved lands. Combined with an adjacent 94-acre parcel owned by the Town of Pownal,  the Preserve is part of a public landscape of nearly 300 acres.  More additions are in the works for later years.  This project sets the stage for even more trail links and loops and the potential to protect a larger block of undeveloped habitat. 

Funding for acquisition and capital improvements has come from RRCT private donors, the Land for Maine’s Future program, the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, the Recreational Trails Program (Maine BPL), the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program (MaineDEP), and many more.