Rain or Shine Club

Next outing: Thursday May 24, at 10am- Fels-Groves Farm Preserve, 211 Gilman Rd. Yarmouth Maine It’s Wellness Week in Yarmouth so join the Rain or Shine Club to celebrate at Fels-Groves Farm Preserve. Plentiful parking in the just off Gilman Road. Owned and managed by the Town of Yarmouth; Fels-Groves is the primary access to the middle of the West Side Trail, a regionally significant off road transportation and recreation opportunity created and funded entirely with community support. Park and walk for miles or park and picnic. Kyle will be there to show you some of his favorite places there.

Schedule

Thursday May 31, at 10am-Bradbury Mt. State Park, 528 Hallowell Rd, Pownal Maine. RRCT is one of Bradbury Mountain State Park’s earliest champions, expanding the Park five times in the process. This week we are  excited to be able to improve access to this state park by covering the gate fee. Come hiking, biking, picnicking, playgrounding or however else you prefer to be outside.  Kyle will be there to host a hike but the Park is wide open for the day.  Click here for maps, directions to the trailhead, and more information.

Thursday June 7, at 10am- Old Crow Ranch, 427 Davis Rd. Durham Maine Farmer’s Steve and Seren invited us to the farm again this year. Ten years ago, Land for Maine’s Future and  RRCT helped them protect this land, since then they have been sustainable farming the land, rebuilding the soil, rotating crops, building homes, and barns and roads and doing managed forestry operations, and growing a family. This farm visit will include (some of) the sights and sounds and smells associated with farming. Bring a snack (for you and yours, not the critters) bring sun or rain hats. Seren will be available to show us around.

Program Details:

The Rain or Shine Club offers a family-friendly introduction to our favorite places with a focus on our active land stewardship projects. Learn how and why we work to protect land, and access to it. Each week we celebrate our success with a variety of guided and self-led tours. Please join us Thursday mornings at 10am for a  well-planned, no-cost adventure. Outings are typically an hour or two long.  This five minute video describes the program and experience from one family’s perspective.  

We head out rain (or snow, or wind…) or shine! Please be mindful of the weather and dress accordingly. Bring appropriate gear, snacks, and thermos or water bottle. Well-behaved dogs are usually welcome with a leash and bags. Check this site regularly to stay updated. Any updates or changes to an event will be posted here by 7am on the day of the outing.

Contact Kyle Warren, Stewardship Director, at Kyle@rrct.org or (207) 632-6112 with questions about gear, driving directions, or anything else, or if you are joining us for an outing but you’re running late.

If you would like to support the work Royal River Conservation Trust is doing  and help improve access to these wild places, please donate to The Rain or Shine Fund!

Archives 

May 17, at 10am, Knight’s Pond Preserve, 477 Greely Rd. Extension, Cumberland Maine; Knights Pond Preserve is growing in Cumberland and North Yarmouth. Last year the Land for Maine’s Future Program, two towns, two land trusts, the Trust for Public Land and more than a hundred members grabbed the line and collectively pulled this land protection project across the finish line. Since then the community has become even more engaged. Building a safe a welcoming access, improving the environmental sustainability and functionality of the pond system, built, marked and mapped miles of new and existing trails. Yesterday we got one step close to owning the entire shoreline. Join the Rain or Shine Club to learn more about this momentum. Every week, a new adventure. Click here for preserve details

Thursday, May 10, at 10am; Runaround Pond Rec Area; 268 Runaround Pond Rd, Durham, 

Last year RRCT partnered with the Town of Durham to continue improve access, this year we are pushing for improvements to accessibility. Join Kyle and the Club this week to stroll the 1-mile loop trail at the very headwaters or the East Branch of the Royal River (aka Chandler Brook). Spring is in full bloom, this site looks positively perfect for morel mushrooms (haven’t found them yet) or to try out that new fishing gear. There are picnic tables in the sun, and some in the shade. Bring a snack or spend the whole day. Check in with the Club or strike out on your own. There are lots of great options at Runaround Pond Recreation Area and the Rain or Shine Club will show you where to start.

Click here for a line to RRCT’s maps and directions to the trailhead.


Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 10am; 
Flowing North Preserve 60 Sawyer Road, New Gloucester ME
60 Sawyer Road is the very very end of Sawyer Road, which leaves Snow Hill Road near the Fairgrounds (the dam over the Royal River) north of New Gloucester’s Upper Village.  Sawyer Road is a rugged dirt road; drive slowly and know that you have permission irrespective of “Private Road” postings.

RRCT’s Flowing North Preserve has no trails and steep banks headed down to the river.  If we’re lucky we’ll find fiddleheads.  We’ll certainly find a remote magical stream valley full of clear water, small waterfalls, and lush forests.

Click here for more information about the location of this week’s Rain or Shine event.

Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 10am; Yarmouth Upper East Side, at Sweetsir Farm Preserve                         GPS: 100 Old Field Road (North) Yarmouth, Maine
Rain or Shine Club stays off trail this week with an exploration of the east bank of the Royal River near the Yarmouth/North Yarmouth townline. Spring is here, the woods are waking up and we’ll be out there to welcome it. This afternoon I disrupted at least three pairs of nesting woodducks. I felt badly, we’ll tread cautiously from now on. Later on I found a pile of bloody woodduck feathers, and raptor poop. Nature. Join us this week to be part of it.

This town of Yarmouth owned land was protected during 1999 and has been part of a contiguous forrested corridor along the east bank of the Royal River. This year, the Town of Yarmouth is partnering with RRCT and Land for Maine’s Future to protect Riverfront Woods, a 24 acre parcel with similar terrane, and access conundrums downstream closer to the village, to the Bay. We plod along.

Plenty of parking in the cul-de-sac at the end of Old Field Road. The GPS address is confusing. Google has it wrong. the correct Yarmouth address does not exist at Google. However the North Yarmouth version brings you to the same piece of dirt. Look for the blue RRCT flag at the intersection of Concord Circle and 724 North Road, Yarmouth. Drive ’round the enormous cul-de-sac and to onto Old Field Road, noticing the RRX. Parking is at the end of this road.

Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 10am; Pisgah Hill Preserve, 398 North Pownal Road, New Gloucester        This week the Rain or Shine Club meets to seek evidence of Big Night at the quiet side of Pisgah Hill Preserve. The amphibian awakening each spring happens en masse when the conditions are perfect. Almost always this week of April, ’round here. This kicks off a month of dynamic vernal pool evolution.

Thoughtful land protection projects like this protect habitat for critters and humans. Parking is along the wide shoulder of North Pownal Road (called Fickett Road a couple miles up the way when it crosses the NG/P townline). We’ll stick together because the trail is lightly marked at first. This week we will have ample opportunity to amble about. Sturdy shoes, kid carriers, tick awareness, the whole thing. This week is not a great fit for dogs.

Pisgah Hill Preserve is protected because of broad neighborhood support, the Land For Maine’s Future Program and RRCT’s vision. Click here for maps, directions to the trailhead, and more information about the location of this week’s Rain or Shine event.

Thursday, April 12, at 10am- Granite Falls Preserve, 11 Goldenrod Lane, North Yarmouth

Granite Falls Preserve is owned by RRCT and managed largely by the neighborhood. Rain or Shine Club introduces you to it this week because we all need to know about few quick waterfall spots near home. There is not much room between homes and public access point so dogs should be kept close and for your complete deference to the neighbors if you return on your own.

The woodcock are migrating north. This morning we found a “flight” in the former pasturelands, now reverting to forest. The perfect habitat for this species, for now and later for others and so on. The land protection work we do is for the long game but it also starts working immediately.

In 2005 as part of the adjacent 24-home Granite Falls Subdivision the developer and RRCT protected the land along this upper reach of Pratt’s Brook. Today the Neighborhood keeps a trail open from our 4-car parking lot, downstream to a picnic spot, sometimes fishing hole on the brook.

It’s spring and that means if you want to explore very far, wet feet or rubber boot are the clear choice. At this week’s outing there will also be the chance to explore off trail through the floodplain. See you out there.

Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 10am; Dry Mills Fish Hatchery, 158 Waymouth Road, Gray Maine With the return of the Maine open water fishing season, the Rain or Shine Club will head to Gray, Maine this  week for our third annual tour of Dry Mills Fish Hatchery. Fam  First opened in 1933, this State of Maine owned and managed farm raises brook trout for Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to stock in local freshwater streams and ponds. The water for this farm is from three groundwater springs and is a consistently good temperature and oxygen saturation year round for these trout, which require pretty specific conditions to thrive. This week’s adventure will be mostly farm tour, with all of the smells, and sights and sounds you might expect on a farm. This facility is located directly downstream from and is associated with the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. The MWP opens next weekend 4/14, so make plans to return after that to visit.

Parking is just off Waymouth Road. The speed limit is posted 25mph. Lot’s of drivers travel way faster than that, please don’t be one of them. Please no dogs. If you are interested in hiking and moving around we can suggest a close place to do that after the farm tour.  There is a chance to buy fistfuls of fish food for a quarter.

Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 10am,Spear Farm Estuary Preserve GPS: 435 Bayview Street, Yarmouth Maine. Join the Rain or Shine Club this week in Yarmouth. Meet near the kiosk in the open fields at 10am at Bayview Street, Yarmouth ME. Click here for a map, directions to the trailhead, and more information about the location of this week’s outing.

Spear Farm Estuary Preserve is public land, protected by the neighborhood with support from Land for Maine’s Future Program, the Town of Yarmouth and Royal River Conservation Trust. Expect trails to be muddy but even in the rain this place “shows well”. See you out there.

 Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 10am – Skyline Farm; 95 The Lane, North Yarmouth 

Royal River Conservation Trust is a proud partner with Skyline Farm as the holder of a conservation easement on the land under and around the farm. The Skyline Farm Board of Directors balances the agricultural, habitat, and recreational values and the partnership has begun to evolve into an important community center.

This first vernal outing of 2018 will remain especially wintery. There are the very first signs of the farm waking up. Some of the safest sledding hills around, and the chance to explore on snowshoes or skis. Bring toys, snacks, questions and your sense of adventure. See you out there.

Meet at 10am at 95 The Lane, North Yarmouth, Maine. Click here for a map, directions to the trailhead, and more information about the location of this week’s Rain or Shine event.

Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 10am – Knight’s Pond Preserve, 372 Greely Road Extnsn, Cumberland
This week the Rain or Shine Club Celebrates the return of winter. Join us at this municipally owned, land trust protected Preserve. There is lots of off street parking in the town maintained lot. Showshoes and skis and sleds and warm thermoses are probably going to be helpful as we poke around the edge of the pond, and hike up the hill through the shagbark hickory forest toward the Cumberland/North Yarmouth townline.

Meet at 477 Greely Road Extension, Cumberland Center, Maine. Click here for a map, directions to the trailhead, and more information.

Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 10am – Sligo Road Preserve
Join the Rain or Shine Club this week at the Sligo Road Preserve for an outing to learn about the long-term vision for the Riverfront Woods Preserve. The Sligo Road Preserve is a one-mile parcel of Royal River impoundment that is directly across the river from the future Riverfront Woods Preserve. 

The Royal River Conservation Trust and the Town of Yarmouth recently wrapped up The Riverfront Woods Campaign, which was enormously successful and enjoyed the unanimous support of the Town Council. RRCT and the Town of Yarmouth worked in close partnership to raise the necessary funds to purchase 24 acres of riverfront land that is owned by Steve and Greg Dugas, Yarmouth residents. The Dugas riverfront property abuts the 22 acre Town-owned Hilda Barker Preserve and the 35 acre Town-owned Sligo Road Preserve directly across the Royal River.

Meet at 10am at 179 Sligo Road, Yarmouth, ME. Click here for more information about the location of this week’s Rain or Shine event.

Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 at 10a – Bradbury Mountain State Park – Free Day
Join the Rain or Shine Club this week for a walk at Bradbury Mountain State Park – RRCT will cover the gate fee, so entrance will be free! We are happy to be able to remove one more obstacle to the outdoors by picking up the tab for everyone visiting the park this day, whether or not they are there to meet for the Rain or Shine Club.

Whether you are looking to enjoy a waterfall on your own for a few minutes or need a covered pavilion for a family reunion, Bradbury Mountain State Park has it all. RRCT has helped expand this park three different times over the past two decades and we are looking for ways to expand even more in the next few years. So come on out to join us or just stop by the parking lot to say hello as you find your own pace, your own place. Pack a lunch, bring friends and stay the whole day.

Meet at 10am at the Bradbury Mountain State Park parking area (west side). Dogs on Leash only. Click here for a map, directions to the trailhead, and more information about the location of this week’s Rain or Shine event.

Thursday, Feb 15, 2018 at 10am – Chandler Mill Pond
Join the Rain or Shine Club this week to explore the forested portions of the Chandler Mill Pond parcel and revisit the uses of days gone.  In 2016, the Chandler Brothers protected Lily Pond (now renamed Chandler Mill Pond) with the help of RRCT and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. This coming summer, the Department plans to make infrastructure upgrades at the hand carry boat launch to improve environmental conditions and to officially welcome the community to use this water access point. Thanks to recent generations of thoughtful management, this pond is recovering from 100 years of industry. The Chandler family fended off a threat of being bridged by I-95 and today this pond boasts a completely undeveloped wild shoreline and a robust trout fishery.

Meet at 10am at 245 Chandler Mill Road, New Gloucester Maine. Park along the pond side of the road on the shoulder. Dogs are welcome. We will stay off the ice, given the time of year. Click here for a map, directions to the trailhead, and more information about the location of this week’s Rain or Shine event.

Thursday, Feb 8, 2018 at 10am: Runaround Pond Recreation Area

Last year RRCT invested in recreational access for the Town of Durham. Join the Rain or Shine Club for a midwinter celebration of the land protection and stewardship work we are doing in this neighborhood.

Meet at 10am at the Runaround Pond parking lot. To find the parking area: From Route 136 turn left onto Rabbit Road and continue onto Runaround Pond Road for 1.1 miles. Look for the entrance to the parking area and boat launch on the right. The trails leave from both ends of the recreation area’s parking lot. Click here for a map, directions to the trailhead, and more information about the location of this week’s Rain or Shine event.

February 1, Thursday at 10am: Pisgah Hill Preserve- south, Full Moon Hike Preparations-  Join Kyle and the Rain or Shine Club this week and help set up for the festivities to come later in the evening. Come for a hike, or to haul a little bit of campfire wood, or construct an ephemerial hilltop soiree site, or build luminaries to light the way, or just to witness the spectacle.

One wintry night last February almost a hundred RRCT members, neighbors, trustees, toddlers, grandparents and friends hiked the loop trail through the perfect amount of new snow, shared some cheer at the summit, toasted with hot cocoa, toasted marshmallows, and hooted at the big orange rising moon.

Join us again this year with your neighbors and friends for our 7th annual mountain-top moon viewing, ThursdayFeb. 1, from 5-8pm for a free self-guided hike and celebratory gathering atop 325′ Pisgah Hill. The full moon is technically the day before;  on Feb 1 expect to bask in the silver glow as it begins to rise a little before 6pm. Start your hike just after the sun sets at 4:52 pm (or show up early for the sunset) and toast the “Blue Snow Moon” as it clears the horizon and lights our way home. This trek is accessible for most people who would feel comfortable snowshoeing during the day. All the fun happens at Pisgah Hill Preserve- south trailhead, 74 Dougherty Road, New Gloucester near the Pownal town line.

January 25 Thursday at 10am: Bradbury Mountain State Park, 528 Hallowell Road, Pownal Maine; three times over the past two decades RRCT has helped, encouraged, paid for, rallied behind, and celebrated expansions to Bradbury Mountain State Park. Join the Rain or Shine Club at the main entrance/Ranger Station off Rt.9 to talk about our vision of the future and to explore the park. Parking is plentiful. Dogs must be leashed. $4 gate fee will be covered by RRCT. Traction control devices or trekking poles and a warm thermos recommended. 

January 18 Thursday at 10am: Granite Falls Conservation Land, 12 Goldenrod Lane, North Yarmouth Did you know about the waterfall on Pratt’s Brook Near the Yarmouth townline? Join the Rain or Shine Club this week for a short hike on land owned by RRCT. As part of our work plan for 2017, we are making access to our land holdings a top priority. In 1990 the North Yarmouth Planning Board and the developer agreed that protecting this land would benefit the habitat and livability of the neighborhood. This property has been largely left to the neighbors to love and care for, for the last dozen years. This year we are going to help out, and all are welcome to join the process. It all starts with getting out there. Parking in the small (4 car) parking lot on your left, just after you cross the Brook.

January 11 Thursday at 10am: Dunns Depot, 511 Memorial Highway North Yarmouth, Maine. RRCT holds a Conservation Easement on this west bank of the Royal River in North Yarmouth. A componenet of the associated, residential subdivision project; the North Yarmouth Planning Board, RRCT (formerly North Yarmouth Land Trust), and the developer had the horse sense to permanently protect the habitat and access along this top mile of the Royal River impoundment. Today, the local snowmobile clubs and neighbors keep the way clear. “Tomorrow” the recreation and habitat opportunity will cross lots of property lines.

Today, the trail surface was smooth, solid and frozen. After the warm up this week it may be better with skis or snowshoes…or ice skates. Dogs are welcome. Parking may be tricky. Stay tuned and watch for the blue RRCt flag for more details.

January 4, Thursday at 10am: Pisgah Hill Preserve, 74 Dougherty Road, New Gloucester Storm day special! Join us for a full blown winter outing. Plan to move pretty fast around the mile and  half loop trail over the summit of Pisgah Hill (where we will toast the February full moon with a sunset hike and bonfire). Nearly the entire trail passes through prime deer wintering habitat. Especially because of the storm these natives will be hunkered down and should not be hassled, so for this weeks outing, please leave dogs at home. The trail surface was easily passable with pack-boots today, but come prepared with snowshoes, grippers or any other way you care to move.

2017

December 28, Thursday at 10am: Knight’s Pond Preserve, 477 Greely Road Extension, Cumberland, winter is finally locked on. The calendar says it’s so and the weather seems to agree! Join the Rain or Shine Club at Knights Pond Preserve this week to learn how land protected with the help of Land for Maine’s Future crosses town lines, land trust service areas and binds once remote neighborhoods, village centers and communities. Hikers, hockey players, hunters, snowmobilers, cyclists, neighbors and wildlife share this land. This week the Rain or Shine Club will meet in the parking lot for a short group stroll to the pond (~0.25m). Join the conversation and tell us how you use this Place or how you wish we used it. Or head off to explore the pond, the hillside, the ridgeline or the town line. With the new snow and the hard cold, trail surfaces seem to be fantastic, stable, sticky and firm, but bring snowshoes, skates, sleds, ‘creepers, snacks and thermos bottles to try out. Dress warm, move around a lot, and get out there!

December 21, Thursday at 10am: Skyline Farm, 95 The Lane, North Yarmouth-The Rain or Shine Club turns 150! GPS Skyline Farm 95 The Lane, North Yarmouth. Join us tomorrow morning to celebrate 150 consecutive Thursday morning outings together. Skyline Farm is a conservation success story where goals of recreation, habitat, history, agriculture, and community are balanced. We’ll meet near the new barns and visit with Skyline Farms founding director Pam Ames. You are welcome to join the conversation about elevating stewardship awareness and expectations during the next 150 outings; or take a few runs on the variety of sledding hills in the fields, or guide yourself and all takers on a winter snowshoe (or stomp) around the 5k of forested trails.

Dress warm, bring snacks and warm drinks, and come back to Skyline again and again.

December 14, Thursday at 10am: Spear Farm Estuary Preserve, 445 Bayview Street Yarmouth. We changed the location to Spear Farm at the last minute, hoping to capitalize on the wonderful wintry weather and go ice skating on Spear Farm Pond. Alas, the temperature never tumbled and we’ll all be sure to steer clear of the ice, and your dog should too. Regardless, join the Club for a winter walk and assessment of storm damage and a visioning of what could be as we plan for the future. Land for Maine’s Future partnered in the purchase success at this Bayview Street gem  Parking is in the small lot or along the shoulder. Bring a snack and warm thermos. Kyle will bring tools to check the ice. Dogs are welcome, but please observe all local dog control rules. There are a few good chances for sledding. It’s winter, it’s fun! See you out there.

November 30, Thursday at 10am; Bradbury to Pineland Corridor (Chandler Brook path), Sweetser Road trailhead, Pownal (at the bridge, near the intersection of Sweetser Rd & Lawrence Rd).   Join us to visit one of the new trails in the growing network of trails between Bradbury and Pineland.  This trail spur between Sweetser Road and the main trail corridor opened in 2017,  and is part of a conservation easement funded by the Land For Maine’s Future program, crossing privately owned land. Our trip will involve some minor trail stewardship responsibilities, especially noting the recent wind storms and road-side litter. Bring clippers or a small handsaw and a trash bag if you can help us out.

November 23, Thursday at 10am; Thanksgiving Break 2017. 

November 16, Thursday at 10am; Knight’s Pond Preserve.  We’ll meet at the semi-private North Yarmouth FAA trailhead, at the very end of Tree Lane, off Henry Road, off Route 115.   The primitive hiking and biking trails are a challenge for baby carriages, and have some wet spots.  This area is popular for hunters; always plan to wear blaze orange during hunting season, and to keep dogs on leashes during hunting season.  We’ll pick a one or two mile loop, for a good solid hike.  The trails have been cleared of any storm damage.  This Preserve was first opened in 2015 with the help of scores of neighbors and funding sources; we’ll see some of the trails that have been built since we helped conserve the property.  Trail map here.

November 2, Thursday at 10am; Littlejohn Island Preserve, Yarmouth- Stewardship in many forms. Join the Rain or Shine Club to learn how RRCT is defining stewardship and help us recover from the wild winds earlier in the week. We’ll visit with the Maine Conservation Corps (AmeriCorps) Field Team who are building new coastal access from the trail along the way. Wind damage has caused us to reroute a section of trail. We’ll spend some time doing light trail work and leaving the reroute safer and more enjoyable for all.

Please park in the small 4 spot parking space or at the very end of Pemasong Lane Extension. You will notice a stonewall-gate just beyond the small parking lot with signs that say PRIVATE (GO AWAY). Drive right through and park near the Service Entrance Gate at the end of the Extension.

Dogs are welcome. Ticks have been very heavy at this location. Showers Forecast.

October 26, Thursday at 10am; Spear Farm Estuary Preserve, Yarmouth; Join the Rain or Shine Club this week and explore the trails, the tidal Royal, the last bits of summer trickling out of the woods and into Casco Bay. It’s lovely out…even in the rain if you’re dressed right. Spear Farm Estuary Preserve was protected by the neighborhood, the town and Land for Maine’s Future 15 years ago because it is a special place. Come see why picked this Place to protect, and learn about our newest campaign to protect land in Yarmouth and how you can help. We do this for our kids. Join us, you’ll see why.

Well behaved dogs are welcome with a leash and bags. There will be opportunity for off leash time.

October 19, Thursday at 10am; Pineland Forestry Unit, 65 Town Farm Road, Gray, Maine

This week Rain or Shine Club continues to explore near the western end of the Bradbury to Pineland Corridor on a lovely little loop trail. This mile and a half hike on State of Maine owned and managed land circumambulates an  active wood lot with well planned trail systems and is terrific example of effectively managing the requirements of multiple uses on public land. Join us Thursday morning 10/19 at 10am. Always free, always a new adventure.

65 Town Farm Road Gray Maine. Look for the blue RRCT flag to know you’ve arrived.

Dogs are welcome. Orange for all.

Schedule October 12, Thursday at 10am; Skyline Farm, 95 The Lane, North Yarmouth. Join this weeks’s host Alan Stearns and Skyline Trustee Pam Ames to explore this mixed use land protection project. There is active commercial agriculture, shared with the Carriage Museum, and shared use pedestrian and equestrian trails, while still allowing for a nice block of habitat. Then come back Sunday (10/15) at noon for their annual Soup and Cider Day. Dogs are welcome.

October 5, Thursday at 10am; Knights Pond Preserve, 377 Greely Road Extension, Cumberland Come explore the community’s latest Land for Maine’s Future success story. The partner land trusts and municipalities have been leaning in lately and making it easier, funner* and safer to use. Dogs are welcome, wheeled travel is best only for a short distance. plan on a 1.5mile hike across lovely singletrack under fast falling foliage.

Plenty of parking and privy at the trailhead. See you out there.

September 28, Thursday at 10am; Royal River, Upper East Side Foliage Float, 118 East Elm Street, Yarmouth.  There won’t be much progression toward the anticipated autumnal awe for a Foliage Float as billed, but come enjoy a late summer paddle. We have partnered for this event with Yarmouth History Center and Yarmouth Community Services, and will be able to provide four canoes and requisite pfd’s and paddles, or bring your own.

September 21, Thursday at 10am- Maine Conservation Corps, Environmental Stewards provide some historical context of Bradbury Mountain State Park. Hallowell Road, Pownal

September 14, Thursday at 10am; Dunns Depot conservation lands  (Baston Park, Route 9- Royal River Access and Old Town House Park, RRCT Conservation Easement and Trail Rights), North Yarmouth.  Plenty of parking at Old Town House Park. We’ll start our neighborhood explorations on Town of North Yarmouth owned and managed trails, pass the Route 9 Royal River access and follow the west bank of the Royal downstream through an RRCT Conservation Easement and view a potential acquisition that would further protect the river. Plan on one and a half or 2 moles of hiking along wide trails without appreciable elevation. Dogs are welcome. Finish off on your own with a picnic at Baston Park, directly across the river. The Town has just completed mowing and their parks look great

September 7, Thursday at 10am; Pisgah Hill Preserve South, 74 Dougherty Road, New Gloucester, Maine. The feeling of Fall is here and it’s time to hit the trail! Bring a friend (or a kid…or two) and meet new ones. We’ll hike the 1.25 mile lollipop loop over the summit of the third highest point in New Gloucester, across exposed ledges, through grand hemlock stands and by remnants of historic granite quarrying. The trail is single track with exposed roots, a little bit of up and down and lots of chances to stop for a snack and enjoy the time above the busy blacktops below.Parking in the tiny lot at the trailhead is limited, so if the lot is full park along he shoulder of the road on the same side as the lot (parking on both sides of the Dougherty Road will create a traffic hazard). Dogs are welcome.

We think you’ll agree this LMF success story is worthy of expansion. Your support and attendance at Rain or Shine Club validates this work. Thanks for showing up. We’ll keep doing the same.

August 31, Thursday at 10am; Old Town Landing, Old Town Landing Road, Yarmouth, Tide pool exploration on a dropping tide on the last day of August. Casco Bay perfection. The landing itself has been used by commercial fisherman since the late 50’s early 60’s.

“Not sure when it was developed, but I’m going to guess it was in the 1960’s around the same time Interstate 295 was built. In 1985 the town commissioned a Harbor & Waterfront Study by Kimball Chase Company that recommended improving the facility.  Improvements were completed several years later.”said Yarmouth Police Chief, Morrill

August 24, Thursday at 10am; Bradbury to Pineland Corridor, Pownal. Come explore with the Rain or Shine Club this week and learn why RRCT and all of its preceding forms has worked tirelessly to protect this chunk of Cumberland County. This hike will be considerably longer distance than typical outings so please be prepared. We can adjust the pace to match the group to some extent but if your little would prefer to explore intensively along the way, this there may be more appropriate adventures in coming weeks. Expect to gain/loose several hundred feet of elevation. This is a spectacular part of the protected land around the State Park. We will also Show you how the Bradbury to Pineland Corridor connects to the State Park.

Dogs are welcome. Bug dope suggested. See you out there!

August 17, Thursday at 10am; Runaround Pond Recreation Area, GPS; 259 Runaround Pond Road, Durham, Maine. Join us tomorrow morning at Runaround Pond Recreation Area in Durham. RRCT is proud to have partnered with the Town of Durham Town to polish this gem at the headwaters of the Royal. With infrastructure improvements (signage and privy and parking bollards) and access improvements to the pond and new trails this has become a destination for a daily dose of woods and waters time. The Rain or Shine Club is excited to show you what we’ve done and what’s to come. Plenty of parking, dogs allowed, bug dope suggested, picnic spots abound. We plant to leave the parking lot around 10am and hike clockwise around the 3/4 mile loop trail on fairly level, well marked singletrack trail. See you out there.

August 10, Thursday at 10am; Knights Pond Preserve GPS: 88 Tree Lane North Yarmouth. Join the Rain or Shine for a two town hike on Thursday morning. Several route potentials depending on the motivation of the group. We’ll show you a quiet trailhead and lots of well marked, mapped trails under a cool and shady canopy. The GPS directions will bring you to the last house on (private) Tree Lane, continue a few hundred feet (you’ll spot our blue flag) further along under the powerlines and park in the small gravel lot or along the shoulder of the road. Please leave room for traffic to pass through the FAA gate though.

August 3, Thursday at 10am; New Gloucester Intervale Preserve, (GPS address:642 Intervale Road New Gloucester Maine). This week the Rain or Shine Club will duck the heat for a stroll around the upper Royal River marshes on the trail in a lovely upland peninsula. This is prime habitat and if we move quietly we’ll be sure to spot lots of bird life and maybe a salamander. NGIP has copious parking, an inviting trailhead, hand-carry access to the river, several subtle art installations, and a nearly level but rustic loop trail (3/4mile).

July 27, Thursday at 10am; Spear Farm Estuary Preserve, 429 Bayview Street, Yarmouth- Park in the small lot or along the shoulder to the right of Bayview Street about a mile and a half from I-295 Exit 17. We’ll explore this lightly managed and most cherished neighborhood open space. This Land for Maine’s Future project along the coastal reach of the Royal River owes its success to overwhelming community financial support and a committed partnership between the Town of Yarmouth, RRCT, LMF and federal partners. Stay tuned to RRCT news for information on how you can contribute to the acquisition of more river front property in 2017.

Dogs are welcome, ticks are likely, good company and lovely views are inevitable. See you on the trail.

July 20, Thursday at 10am- Bradbury Mountain Berry Farm, 429 Elmwood Road Pownal, but don’t wait for the Rain or Shine Club, go visit farmer Dwight and family to find some sustainably grown pesticide free berries. This farm has long been protected as the dominant view from the “Ledges” at Bradbury Mountain State Park and shares thousands of feet of common boundary with the the east side of the park. For 20  years or more this farm fell fallow. RRCT is proud to partner in the success of local agriculture and delighted that perfect berries are right around the corner from June though October now.There will also be the opportunity to access the State Park trails on the East Side for those who want to get a little more exercise. No dogs allowed.

July 13, Thursday at 10am- Knight’s Pond Preserve, 477 Greely Road Extension, Cumberland Center. This amazing new preserve was opened in 2015 funded in part the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program, the Town of North Yarmouth and Cumberland, the Royal River Conservation Trust, the Chebeague and Cumberland Land Trust, and so many others. We’ll hand out LMF passports (with prizes!) continuing this new summer program.

July 6, Thursday at 10am-  Larrabee’s Landing, Burbank Lane, Yarmouth, 211 Gilman Road Yarmouth Maine. This week the Rain or Shine Club explores a few neighborhood gems. Park at the open space hub of Fels-Groves Farm Preserve off Gilman Road for a 1.5 mile meadow & neighborhood walk to the Royal River at town of Yarmouth owned and managed Larrabee Landing. There is shade and a perfectly-placed picnic table at the turnaround point next to the coastal portion of the Royal River. We will do a loop through the meadow before crossing the road and walking to the river. The tide will be high but at only 8.4 feet forecasted, there should still room to allow for some exploration of the marsh and grasses. The meadows are alive with birds and bugs, there is a little bit of road shoulder and a crossing on Gilman Road and much quieter Burbank Lane to navigate (maybe a few hundred yards?). From the Landing we should be able to see lots of boat activity as they cruise the channel between the Yarmouth Marinas near the head of tide on the Royal and the open ocean.

Town dog rules at the trailhead are very specific and we must be deliberate about observing them; dogs must be leashed within 100yds of the parking lot and waste removed. MCHT, RRCT and the Town of Yarmouth contributed to the success of land protection in this neighborhood. This is also one of the parking lots of the along the fantastic West Side Trail. See you out there.

June 29, Thursday at 10am – Shaker Conservation Land, 707 Shaker Road, New Gloucester.  A vast 1700 acre conservation easement put in place nearly 15 years ago by Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program, RRCT, NEFF, and others protects the working forests, orchards, Sabbathday shoreline, uppermost reaches of the Royal River, and more. Join the Rain or Shine Club to explore the shoreline of Shaker Bog. Parking will be along the southbound side of Rt.26 (aka the Autobahn), but the shoulder is wide and we’ll try to have some traffic control. Because of the parking and the proximity of our hike to the resource this weeks outing is not dog friendly. We’ll hand out LMF passports (with prizes!) to launch this new summer program.  Passport details are on our events page.

June 22, Thursday at 10am – Bradbury to Pineland Corridor, 520 Lawrence Road, Pownal. We have new trails that are (almost) ready for prime time, and (certainly) ready for the Rain or Shine Club connecting RRCT trail rights to the state park system’s trails. Funded by the Land for Maine’s Future program, the Bradbury Pineland Corridor project has been ongoing for more than a decade, with more trail connections coming in the future.

June 8, Thursday at 10am- Lanes Island, Casco Bay, Yarmouth. This is our favorite trip of the year. We’ll meet at Freeport’s Winslow Park (132 Staples Point Road, Freeport) at 10am, where power boats and staff from the Maine Island Trail and Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) will shuttle us out to MCHT’s Lanes Island, located in Yarmouth at the mouth of the Royal. The boat ride is only a few thousand feet. We’ll have PFDs, but bring your own if you have one. Bring your own kayak, too, as an alternative. The boat leaves from a dock (easy to step in and out), but arrives on a beach, requiring wet feet and a four-foot descent off the boat (shuttling kids, with lots of support.) Winslow Park charges $3 dollars for entry. Boats will shuttle back beginning at 11am, but please don’t expect us to allow strict attention to any schedule demands. Horseshoe crabs should be on the beach, and the full island is open to explore. The ocean air is always colder than inland air; bring warm clothes, versatile footwear, insect repellent, sunscreen, plenty of water, and snacks.

June 1, Thursday at 10am- Flowing North Preserve, 198 Sawyer Road, New Gloucester Maine. This week our outing is off trail, off the end of a long dirt road and not of the faint of heart. This preserve is as wild as the day we acquired it. The reward is the most beautiful little section of the Royal River. We’ll trek and explore and maybe get a little wet, probably a little dirty. Dogs are welcome.

If you are looking for a great trout fishing hole, come explore with us tomorrow morning. The mosquitos and ticks are feirce, so proper clothes and bug-dope will be critical for a good expericnce.   http://rrct.org/preserves-trails/flowing-north-preserve/

May 25, Thursday at 10am- Pisgah Hill Preserve South, 78 Dougherty Road, New Gloucester.

May 18, Thursday at 10am- Broad Cove Reserve, (GPS address 179 Foreside Road, Cumberland Maine) (the parking lot is just off foreside road on Beach Lane which doesn’t gps well because it is a relatively new private road).

Summer is staged a comeback and the Rain or Shine Club headed to the beach! Thoughtfully protected by the Payson family and CCLT , this property is now owned by the town of Cumberland and open to the public. Broad Cove Reserve benefits from municipal grade, off-street parking lot, through informational and instructional signage, a cabana, picnic tables, beach sand, tidal flats, geology, a giant pier and views of Yarmouth, Portland, the islands and the bay. Tomorrow’s low tide occurs at 11am. With water temps in the upper 40f’s the forecasted 80-90 degree temperatures may be softened a little by the perfect onshore breeze rolling in over Casco Bay. Be sure to wear sun protection, (I prefer cloths to goo), and bring water and snacks.

The parking lot is located on your starboard side as you leave Foreside Road. Look for the blue RRCT sign at this intersection to find us. Walk about half mile to the beach along a crushed stone sidewalk parallel to the road. This is a lovely downhill stroll with sweeping vistas Alternately, (or for the return trip) this site allows short term traffic for passenger drop-off within fifty yards of the beach. No dogs allowed this week and it will be unreasonably hot to ask them to stay in the car, so please leave them home, in the shade. See you out there.

May 11, Thursday at 10am- Gray Fiddlehead forage. Pineland Public Reserved Lands forestry management unit. (GPS address; 193 Depot Road, Gray). The Royal River meanders and riffles its way across north Cumberland County leaving wide nutrient rich floodplains, abandoned oxbow’s, pirated channels, and subtly migrating knickpoints on valley’s relentless march to sea-level. When the right amount of sunlight filters through the streamside canopy and falls on the right types of soils along the river, food pops right out of the ground. Join the Rain or Shine Club for this adventure to hike a 1.5 mile loop and see if we can harvest some wild vegetables. This is a great place to bring dogs, just watch out for the busy road near the parking lot. Overflow parking is along the side of Depot Road. This is a loop hike, so be sure to prepare to move even the tiniest of legs the whole way.

May 4, Thursday at 10am-Dry Mills Trout Hatchery, 158 Weymouth Road
Gray, ME.
Continuing our discovery of the cold water fishery in Southern Maine we will take a tour of this State of Maine brook trout rearing facility, attached to (and affiliated with the Maine Wildlife Park); occupied by many of Maine’s furred, feathered or finned creatures who are unfit for return to the wild since their rehabilitation, this facility is a great way to learn who lives in our woods and why we strive to protect various habitats. This is a brook trout specific facility and they have outstanding success with selective husbandry, selecting the strongest and most resilient native strains of beautiful “brookies”  with fabled names like “Kennebago”  and “Nesowadnehunk”, hailing from the cherished big-woods of our state. The Rain or Shine Club visit to the hatchery will examine the whole cycle of trout rearing from egg to broodstock, leaving plenty of time to explore the Wildlife Park on your own. Lots of parking, bring quarters ($0.25’s) to feed the trout.

Great science, a clear vision and competent enforcement in the past few decades has caused Maine to reestablish a world class recreational fishery and the habitat to support it. Not a lot of walking this week and dogs are not a good fit. 5 minutes from I-95 Exit 63. See you out there.

April 27, Thursday at 10am- Trout Stocking at Mayall Mills State Historic Site, GPS address; 258 Mayall Road, Gray Maine (at the intersection of Magquire Road and Mayall Road. Parking is along Magquire Road). Join the Rain or Shine Club to explore State of Maine Historic Site and continue to learn about the cold water fisheries and fishing in North Cumberland County. A quarter mile of babbling Collyer Brook tumbles through this property with rustic trails and interpretive panels to inform your visit and bring the narrative of the dominant mill ruins to life. We will have 100 fish to move from the truck and gently release to the stream. so wear your tallest rubber boots so you can help the State Fisheries Biologists. This small site and tall shady glen are conducive to small group exploration so bring your sense of adventure, a snack and a friend.

The Royal River Conservation Trust works in this corner of Gray, which is part of the Royal River watershed.  Join us with leaders of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust which works in other parts of Gray, which are part of the lower Presumpscot River watershed. Parking is not optimum along the shoulder of this road, but there is room. Please leave room for (and be aware of through farm traffic across this bridge).

The roads, delicate aquaculture and small site suggest this not a great week for dogs unless they are leashed and mellow.

Kyle (me) won’t be joining this week as we expect to meet our twin sons in the next three days!

April 20, Thursday at 10am- New Gloucester Fish Hatchery, (GPS address; 312 Fish Hatchery Road, New Gloucester Maine.  The Rain or Shine Club continued a month long exploration of coldwater fisheries management in north Cumberland County with a tour of a State of Maine brown trout aquaculture facility to learn about where and how the trout are grown to be released (stocked) in nearby streams. Built in 1932 as a CCC project, this State owned facility grows trout purely to supply the recreational fishing market. Hatchery staff may be available to lead a tour with advance notice but this facility in p[articular is conducive to drop by visitors and self exploration. The NGFH is a unique aquaculture venture in the state where fish are reared on a stream bed and are quite subject to current environmental conditions. The staff has learned to adapt to prevent loss of the fish to warm water, low oxygen levels and wild predation. The contrast between the two geographically close IF&W hatcheries is remarkable. Please, no dogs on this farm. The walking tour of the facility is on level gravel roads near the hatchery streams and is way less than 1/2 mile total.

Learn more about New Gloucester Brown Trout from this Press Herald article from last year. 

April 13, Thursday at 10am- Vernal pool visit. Sweetsir Farm Preserve, (GPS address: 100 Old Field Road,  Yarmouth Maine) (note that you leave North Road on Concord Circle  before arriving at Old Field Road). RRCT Board President emeritus and fluent naturalist Eugenie Francine will lead us through the early stages of vernal pool biophysiology. Join us on the Upper East Side of Yarmouth to discover the optimum habitat for wood frog and salamander propagation and learn what actually makes a vernal pool such important habitat. “Vernal pools, also called vernal ponds or ephemeral pools, are temporary pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals. They are considered to be a distinctive type of wetland usually devoid of fish, and thus allow the safe development of natal amphibian and insect species unable to withstand competition or predation by fish.” In Maine, these wetland features are heavily regulated and fiercely protected because of the high value they contribute to a sustainable and functioning ecosystem. Each year in the middle of April the world of land development holds its breath and counts amphibian eggs  to discover the development potential of  their property. With lots of patches of snow left in the woods, ground frost melting and leaving gaping crunchy holes in the trail, at least two wet stream crossings, the woods are truly in a dynamic period. Tall rubber boots will most certainly be necessary. To improve your chance of spotting eggs in the pool, polarized sunglasses will help.

Please be respectful of the pools and keep dogs out of them. Please, park along the edge the cul-de-sac.

April 6, Thursday at 10am- Runaround Pond Recreation Area, (GPS address: 217 Runaround Pond Road, Durham, Maine). It’s spring, and we are lucky to be getting lots of seasonal precipitation to keep the past years drought at bay. With all this fresh water and the now opened Open Water Fishing Season we will scout out some open water and try our luck. The outlet to Runaround Pond is the headwater of Chandler Brook and part of the best habitat block in southern Maine. Kyle plans to bring fly-fishing gear to demonstrate. The forecast is for rain after melting snow and lots more rain so come prepared to stay warm and dry. We’ll plan on a short trail walk, a little bit of off trail exploration and a spooky story. We’ll also learn how this State owned, Town managed recreation and access project relates to the land protection work RRCT is doing in the neighborhood.

March 30, Thursday at 10am- Katherine Tinker Preserve, (GPS address: 2 Seal Lane, Yarmouth Maine). Neighborhood parks are cherished everywhere but few as much as on Cousins Island in Yarmouth. Join us this week and see why. Protected by the last of the family who worked this saltwater farm, this land, bisected by a town owned gravel lane now serves the community differently. When Katherine Tinker legally protected the farm nearly 50 years ago she was careful to describe her vision for future educational endeavors and passion for community access to this land.

‘Tinker Preserve is the proud new owner of a 14 page “storywalk” gifted to the town by local Boy Scouts of America Troop 38 in collaboration with Yarmouth schools, Yarmouth Community Services, the Nature Conservancy, and the neighbors. We’ll meet at the trial head, right off Cousins Street and hike the story and watch spring melt away the winter. The trail is short, just more than 1km, the walking will be wet and level, the opportunity to make larger (and much, much larger) loops exists, connecting beaches, and businesses and landings and neighborhoods. This week, dogs are welcome but are required to be leashed while on the Preserve.

March 23, Thursday at 10am- Bradbury Mtn. State Park, (GPS address: 520 Lawrence Road, Pownal). Dress warm and come explore the “cold side” of Bradbury. The trail is pretty frozen so snowshoes are optional for this 1-2 mile hike around Tryon Mountain, the feldspar quarries, and the south facing hardwood hillsides. RRCT is working diligently with the State Park to expand recreation options, make trail connections and help move the Bradbury to Pineland Corridor vision forward. Please no dogs this week. Park staff have temporarily posted this area to protect white-tailed deer wintering areas.

March 16, Thursday, at 10am-  Spear Farm Estuary Preserve, (GPS address: 427 Bayview Street Yarmouth, Maine) – Join the Rain or Shine Club when we return to Spear Farm Estuary Preserve in Yarmouth this week. We’ll celebrate that last outing of this winter season with some real winter weather. Snowshoes are probably a good idea, sleds for little ones are too. Owned by the town and protected with help from the Land for Maine’s Future Program, the neighbors and RRCT, this preserve with off street parking, well marked trails and stunning views and potential to spot lots of wildlife is the perfect spot to get bring your family on a weekend outing. Come learn how to be the best guide you can be.

March 9, Thursday, at 10am- Pole Yard Property, Sligo Road, Yarmouth. (GPS address: 269 Sligo Road, Yarmouth Maine) – Visit the Town of Yarmouth owned property at Sligo Road this week with the Rain or Shine Club to learn how this property may fit into a larger scale conservation vision in Yarmouth. We’ll also discover how the water we drink is protected and how it gets to your kitchen. The Yarmouth Water District now shares a small portion of this property and YWD Superintendent, Bob MacKinnon has agreed to show us how the magic happens.

We’ll plan on a short hike around the winter meadows and to the edge of the Royal River impoundment. Today the ice was singing loudly but was not looking particularly safe to be on. There is a picnic table on the river bank for snacking upon and lots of wildlife to witness and interpret. Once back at the parking lot you’ll be welcome to step into the beautiful new YWD facility and hear about the science and strategy of protecting groundwater and delivering it to our community.

Come on out and get some fresh air, and water.

March 2, Thursday, at 10am-Knights Pond Preserve, Bruce Hill And Blueberry Hill ridgeline adventure, (GPS address: 80 Tree Lane, North Yarmouth Maine). Join your friends and RRCT at the North Yarmouth trailhead to Knights Pond Preserve. There is still lots of snow in the woods and the forecasted weather could make travel tricky or at least slow. Depending on the group we can choose to do a 1/2 mile flat walk along the ridgeline or make a more spirited trip of it and hike up to several miles if the conditions and adventurers are favorable. Snowshoe’s matched with tall rubber boots are my recommendation. We host these outings throughout the year because we all need to get outside all year. We also notice that the midst of the storm or as the clouds clear tend to that special way the light acts excited or pings off the last of the millions of rain drops still clinging to the twigs before they join their friends in the freshette. Come on out, let us show you around.

February 23, Thursday, at 10am- Bradbury Mountain State Park,  Sledding Tryon Fields, (GPS address: 520 Lawrence Road, Pownal Maine). Come enjoy the sunny side of Bradbury Mountain State Park. The State Park maintained parking lot and trailhead are easy to find and well suited for winter visits. The Rain or Shine Club will meet at the stone monument to the Tryon family’s conservation vision. We don’t plan to walk too far to the sledding hill away so stay for a quick walk, stay all afternoon, or drop by and visit on your own schedule. Kyle will be there until 11am or noon. The best way to get out and explore in these quickly changing late winter conditions is to stay nimble and to plan ahead. For this weeks outing, the best chance at an off trail exploration, bring snowshoes  or skis and a sled. For an adventure that may or may not work just show up in your boots. There are endless sledding opportunities, if the snow is right.

Come on out and get some fresh air, and learn about how RRCT helps protect, expand and promote the proper use and management of Bradbury Mountain State Park.

February 16, Thursday, at 10am- Fels Groves Farm Preserve, (GPS address; 211 Gilman Road, Yarmouth, Me). Join us at the end of tomorrow’s storm and explore the fields and forests of FGFP. Snowshoes or skis will surely be needed. Littles may want to be dragged in your sled or lugged, but I expect the deep snow pack will present some real travel opportunities and limitations. Dogs are welcome but they must be on leash within 100 yards of the parking lot and waste must be removed promptly. There are several loop options depending on the group and whether we need to break trail.

February 9, Thursday, at 10am- Pisgah Hill Preserve– South Full Moon Celebration Preparation  (GPS address: 70 Dougherty Road, New Gloucester, Me. Come help Kyle pack the trail, make luminaries, construct a snow bar and build great energy for our 6th annual hilltop soiree.

Once the small parking lot is full (only about 4 cars) park along Dougherty Road. Please park only on one side of the road and watch out for fast moving traffic. The three-quarter mile loop hike takes us up a couple hundred feet across bare (though not too steep ledges), through mixed hardwoods and a beautiful hemlock stand and by lots of deer and turkey tracks. Be sure to bring snacks and a thermos for a quick break along the way. The trail is quite steep in places (up and down) so dragging your littles in sleds isn’t necessarily optimum, though certainly doable. Tomorrow will be a storm day. We expect heavy blowing snow and snowshoes and full winter gear will be important.

Then be sure to bring the whole family back for the cosmic event of the month, on Friday night and watch a winter full moon rise at sunset and enjoy a campfire and toast a marshmallow or two on the summit to warm you on your hike back down the hill.

February 2, Thursday, at 10am- Chandler Mill Pond Wildlife Management Area (GPS address: 172 Snow Hill Road, New Gloucester). 

Rain or Shine Club visited Chandler Mill Pond for the first time!

Protected by Chandler Brothers Inc. in partnership with Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and RRCT. This land is for trout fishing, ice fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, fat biking, skating, critters and you. The last undeveloped pond in Cumberland County will remain that way because the current generation of the family who have owned this land for the last 250 years feels a deep stewardship responsibility to the land they inherited. Join your friends at Rain or Shine Club, and conservation partner Steve Chandler to learn how the pond has been used, over used, fiercely defended, nurtured and now permanently protected (2016).

We plan to cross the ice. We also plan to explore the exquisitely managed woodlot surrounding the pond, where today the snowpack was positively frozen and allowed super easy transit across the top. New snow, temperature shifts, heavy wind or any other variety of of variables may change this. The skating was really good today with lots of clear blue ice. Lots of cosmic twangs and booms as the ice continues to grow and shift and lots of stress cracks, but we scouted it today and will stick to the safe parts of the pond. Snowshoes are a very good idea to bring along, or skis, and sleds and ice skates, snacks and warm thermos bottles are also great tools to enjoy winter outside.

Parking is along the side of Snow Hill Road. Depending on the amount and type of snow we get on Wednesday it could be tight parking along this 45mph road. This week is not a great fit for dogs because of the close proximity to roads, areas of thin ice (which we have mapped out and are easily avoided) and the goal of spotting critter tracks to interpret the rest of the story.

January 26, Thursday, at 10am- Pisgah Hill Preserve– North, Winter at the Beaver Flowage. Please have AWD or 4WD to join this weeks outing, Parking is going to be tricky and will require a bit of patience as it will be a first in, last out scenario. If you have time restrictions beyond 11:30 or so, please let me know when you get there. Also, tall insulated rubber or water-proof winter boots and snowshoes are going to be required. This persistent cycle of freeze-thaw-whacky precip  This exciting edition of the Rain or Shine Club will go off-road and check in on a huge beaver flowage. There is lots of furbearing critter activity We’ll see if we can spot how some the native critters use the modified habitat to broaden biodiversity, and how they exist during the frozen months. RRCT owns and manages this land as the quiet side of the Pisgah Hill Preserve. Please, no dogs this week. The recently drained beaver flowage complex is positively alive with small mammal life and it will much easier to appreciate without dog tracks.

January 19,  Thursday, at 10am- Old Town House Park, (GPS Address: 470 Memorial Highway (Rt.9), North Yarmouth Maine). Meet up in the Dunns Depot neighborhood of North Yarmouth and enjoy lots of easy parking and a riverside stroll through the fields and forests of this Town of North Yarmouth owned and managed property. Somewhat adjacent to Old Town House park is the Route 9 access to the Royal River about 9 river miles upstream from the Yarmouth boat launch at the East Elm Street Dam.

Winter is here for real and snowshoes are required for our outing tomorrow. Sleds or snowshoes are a great idea for our littlest adventurers too. Plan on a 1 – 2 mile stroll in the “Lower Fields” and along the mostly frozen Royal River. Dogs are welcome. Leash please near the parking lot.

January 12, Thursday, at 10am-Runaround Pond Conservation Area (GPS Address: 217 Runaround Pond Road, Durham Maine). Join the Rain or Shine club this week to explore a partnership in land protection, rejuvenated by recent RRCT acquisitions in the neighborhood. When local families, farmers, local land trusts partner with local government and state government we can begin to build a comprehensive conservation vision for a wild and beautiful but sleepy neighborhood that is undoubtedly going to keep seeing more commuter and development pressure in the coming decades.

Oh and young Stephen King was raised as a boy, literally within sight of this facility. Join us and learn how this landscape scale conservation project can be part of your story.

January 5, 2017, Thursday, at 10am- Frank Knight Forest, (GPS address: 598 East Main Street, Yarmouth). Come enjoy a winter walk. Winter is here and it looks like it is here to stay for a little while. The trail should be plenty frozen tomorrow morning but for any off trail explorations snowshoes will undoubtedly be helpful. Traction control devices will help with high traffic trail areas. Plan on a 1+ mile loop hike to keep warm. The hiking trails should be suitable for a dragged sled if little legs don’t want to walk the whole way. Parking is in the lot near the Yarmouth Community Garden. Dogs are welcome, but need to be on leash in the parking lot.

Since 2001 this property 67 acre parcel has been owned and managed by the Town of Yarmouth for community agriculture, wildlife habitat and low impact, passive recreation.

2016

December 29, Thursday, at 10am- Sledding at Skyline Farm, (GPS address: 95 The Lane, North Yarmouth). Join us to celebrate the last Rain or Shine Club meeting of 2016! This club is a success because of you and the great energy and beautiful children you bring each week. Skyline Farm has graciously invited us back to enjoy their campus, and slide in the fields. Bring your favorite sled or share one of ours. Also, please feel free to bring a snack to share (Kyle prefers chocolate chip cookies even though it is Christmas-cookie season).

It looks like there will be a little bit of old snow left to slide around on and with the promised winter storm (bombogenesis) rolling in by mid morning, it will be a special time to join your friends and  bid adieu to the Rain or Shine Club for 2016. The temperatures should be fairly mild and we don’t plan to venture far from the parking lot so come on out and enjoy the morning then retreat back home and let it snow!

December 22, Thursday, at 10am- Knights Pond Preserve (GPS address 477 Greely Road Extension, Cumberland Maine) Despite our best efforts to schedule a skating party for this weeks outing, it looks like the best we’ll be able to do is go generally stomp about and get some fresh air. Since this Club celebrates all year long, the suboptimal forecast this week doesn’t scare us from hosting this weeks outing. As we enter a serious freeze-thaw phase through the first official days of winter, we can be glad there is still some solid snow on the ground. Let’s hope this is a great base to build a deep winter on!

We’ll meet in the new Knight’s Pond Preserve parking lot and hike toward the pond. Depending on conditions we can check the ice for thickness, scan for animal tracks, watch of winter birds and enjoy great company in the woods. Forecast is for rain or snow showers. Trail conditions should be sloppy, lumpy and/or slippery. This is a good reason to bust out the sled’s for dragging littles, snowshoes or “Kreepers” for sticking your feet to the trail and thermoses filled with warmth and snacks to enjoy between squalls.

December 15, Thursday, at 10am- South Bank of Chandler Brook, Pownal, (GPS address: 95 Sweetser Road Pownal, Maine) Park along the west side of Sweetser Road for a 4+ mile round trip, trail scouting and connectivity planning outing  between Elmwood Road and Sweetser Road, Pownal. We will also offer a standard (toddler friendly) route this day from the same meeting spot.  As the State Park begins the 5 year interval review of the current Management Plan for Bradbury Mountain State Park and the Bradbury-to-Pineland Corridor, RRCT is uniquely positioned to offer alternate routes to the utility corridor for certain types of recreation. Understanding the value of this and broadening the community awareness of this resources will be an important component of this outing.

With the new snow, going could be slower, especially for shorter legs . If you have snowshoes that you are eager to try, bring them along, with the snow not too deep yet it will be an easy way to troubleshoot your gear. Sleds are also good ways to move kids in the snow, not required but sometimes pretty helpful. As we head into the hard part of the winter, our local wildlife has to work much harder to stay alive. Please be aware of your dogs activity and prevent them from chasing or interfering with wildlife.

December 8, Thursday, at 10am- Pratts Brook Park, Yarmouth (GPS address: 167 Berryfield Road Yarmouth Me) Parking is at the very end of Berryfield Road, at the trailhead. We will explore the Chipmunk Trail and the quiet side of Yarmouth’s biggest and most popular park. Plan on a 1 or 2 (or more) mile hike, depending on climatic and human variables. Pratts Brook Park is owned the Town and managed by Yarmouth Community Services with the guidance of RRCT Stewardship. The community is currently considering changes to the 15 year old management plan to keep pace with current uses and infrastructure. This is 220-acre community resource with 3 different trailheads is worth knowing about and taking great care of. Join us this week to learn more. Everyone is welcome.

December 8, Thursday, at 10am- Pratts Brook Park, Yarmouth (GPS address: 167 Berryfield Road Yarmouth Me). , Parking is at the very end of Berryfield Road, at the trailhead. We will explore the Chipmunk Trail and the quiet side of Yarmouth’s biggest and most popular park. Plan on a 1 or 2 (or more) mile hike, depending on climatic and human variables. Pratts Brook Park is owned the Town and managed by Yarmouth Community Services with the guidance of RRCT Stewardship. The community is currently considering changes to the 15 year old management plan to keep pace with current uses and infrastructure. This is 220-acre community resource with 3 different trailheads is worth knowing about and taking great care of. Join us this week to learn more. Everyone is welcome.

December 1, Thursday, at 10am- New Gloucester Intervale Preserve;   (GPS address- 642 Intervale Road, Route 231, New Gloucester Maine) Join the Rain or Shine Club this week to learn about how industry and agriculture have helped define the conservation potential in the “intervale” and how to access it. We will explore the edge of a wide freshwater marsh along a half-mile upland trail. The trail is short but that should allow us to move slowly and enjoy what the day offers. There is rain in the forecast but temperatures should be fairly warm. With the foliage down for the season, this is a fantastic time for long views and slow strolling and good company.

RRCT owns this preserve and manages the public access primarily with volunteerism.

November 24, Thursday, at 10am, Happy Thanksgiving! No scheduled club meeting today. Review the list below of our past 90+ outings and take your whole family out to you favorite site, or ask for a personalized suggestion. Happy Thanksgiving! We love seeing photos of you during our weekly adventures so please snap and post to our Facebook page! Thank you!

November 17, Thursday, at 10am- Spear Farm Estuary Preserve (GPS address- 425 Bayview Street Yarmouth Me.) This week the Rain or Shine Club returns to Spear Farm Estuary Preserve.We’ll explore the 1 mile trail under the ancient red oaks, through an invasive plant to native community restoration project, between a freshwater pond and a highly functioning salt marsh and past several perfect spots for snacks and visits. We protected this property over the past dozen years, partnering with the Town of Yarmouth (fee simple owner and recreation and habitat managers) and the Land for Maine’s Future Program. Meet in the small parking lot near the barn off Bayview Street and explore with the group, or even strike off on your own!

November 10, Thursday, at 10am- Chandler Brook Preserve, (GPS address-1411 North Road, North Yarmouth). Since 2004 RRCT has been a proud partner, protecting and preserving this 60 acres of stream-side, meadow and forested habitat, with the Town of North Yarmouth and Maine Bureau of Parks and Land. It remains open for hiking and hunting because of the great management work being done by the Town. Join us this week for a short stroll through the meadows and along the banks of the Royal.

Wear orange/hunting season. Dogs best on leash or at home during hunting season.

November 3, Thursday, at 10am, Knights Pond Preserve, (GPS Address- 77 Tree Lane, North Yarmouth Maine).  Use the GPS address for this week’s meeting location. While the normal access to Knights Pond Preserve is currently under construction for improved access from the west side of the preserve the Rain or Shine Club will meet this week at the North Yarmouth Trailhead (about 1.5 miles west of Walnut Hill Road (Rt.115)

The cold wet autumn weather is perfect for motivated hiking so we will explore a 1 mile loop from the top of Blueberry Hill down to Knights Pond and back to the top. Over the past couple weeks we have opened new trails, built new bridges, added updated maps, and hung new signs in the field. We are proud to open this space in so many of your backyards with the help of the Land for Maine’s Future Program in partnership with Cumberland Cheabeuge Land Trust, and the Town’s of Cumberland and North Yarmouth.

Hunting season is here and this land is open for hunting and wear orange or other bright colors helps reduce the chance for accidents. Dogs also look great in orange but are best on leash or at home to avoid conflicts during hunting season..

October 27- Cousins Island conservation and recreation loop, Tinker Preserve’s new “story walk” interpretive panels.   (GPS address-34 Seal Lane, Yarmouth Maine)

This week the Rain or Shine Clubs returns to Cousins Island in Yarmouth at Katherine P. Tinker Preserve owned and managed by the town and protected by The Nature Conservancy. This former salt water farm was donated in the 1970’s with a goal of making thee open space available to neighbors, wildlife and the education community. One of the ways this conservation goal is being accomplished is the construction of a permanent story walk for all of us to revisit. It is currently being built by local Eagle Scout Candidate Ethan Hunt. We’ll preview it tomorrow and it will be completed soon. After we’ve read our story we can stretch our legs and walk to Camp SOCI (a former Girl Scout of America Camp now owned and managed by the Town) and a small section of the best of the West Side Trail.

Parking should be plentiful along the dirt road (GPS address is 3 Seal Lane , Yarmouth, Maine) or in the small parking lot near the trailhead. This is an outing for everyone. First timers, regulars, irregulars, infants or ancients. This club is because we all need open air and lots of space.