The Royal River watershed includes special places for observing, enjoying, and learning about nature and history. Many RRCT members and others have authored their favorite walks and/or favorite nature walk topics, which you can view below. On a separate webpage, we have information on the Best Birding in the Royal River Watershed, covering many of these same locations. You might also be interested in our monthly volunteer-led Get Out! Nature Walk series.
Spear Farm Estuary Preserve: Nature Walk
Spear Farm Estuary Preserve is a 55-acre property with diverse habitats, ranging from stately oaks and pine forest to the open salt marshes of the Royal River Estuary and a small pond with a fringing marsh. Maine Master Naturalist Ronald Dupuis has authored a self guided tour of the preserve as well as a 20-page Spear Farm Winter Walk: Visit Spear Farm to find both
Knight’s Pond and Blueberry Hill: Nature Walk
Knight’s Pond Preserve in Cumberland and North Yarmouth is a 334-acre preserve including ponds, streams, ridgelines, vernal pools, rare shagbark hickory forests, and extensive wildlife habitat. Neighbor and naturalist Karen Herold authored a beautiful document to guide winter nature walks at the preserve. We’ve also posted information on the ecology of Knight’s Pond authored by Maine Natural Areas Program Ecologist Kristen Puryear and Field Assistant Nicole Lutkemuller in 2013.
To learn more and view these documents visit: Knight’s Pond Preserve
Chandler Brook Preserve: Nature Walk
The Chandler Brook Preserve in North Yarmouth was acquired with the financial support of Royal River Conservation Trust members and donors and is now owned and managed by the town of North Yarmouth. RRCT member and Master Naturalist, Karen Massey authored a narrative on nature walks at Chandler Brook in the spring and summer. To learn more visit: Chandler Brook Preserve
Sam Ristich Trail: Nature Walk
The Sam Ristich trails are managed by the town of North Yarmouth, connecting town parks and town forests. There is a great brochure and map as well as a written nature walk that you can print out and bring with you.
Visit: Sam Ristich Trails to learn more.
Ethnobotany: Medicinal Plants & Trees Used by Native American Tribes on RRCT & CCLT Trails
RRCT member Polly Haight Frawley — as part of Maine’s Master Naturalist program, prepared interpretive material on plants located and photographed on trails in the Royal River watershed, with an ethnobotanical focus on Wabanaki medicinal uses.
Click here to download the pdf: Plants and Trees Used for Medicinal Purposes by Tribes of the Wabanaki Confederation,
Old Harris Road Preserve: Outdoor Classroom, Wabanaki History, and Interpretive Trail
RRCT’s Old Harris Road Preserve in Pownal — near Pownal Elementary School — includes an outdoor classroom near Thoits Branch stream. RRCT’s website includes interpretive content, including an easily printed educational interpretive manual. Aimed at school children, the interpretive content includes Wabanaki heritage, fisheries, water quality, ecology, and more.
Click here to go to the Preserve website, which in turn provides links to the interpretive pdf: Old Harris Road Preserve,
Big Falls Preserve: Habitat & Historic Interpretation authored by former landowner Michael Fralich
The Big Falls Preserve is Royal River Conservation Trust’s newest preserve on the border of the town of New Gloucester and the city of Auburn. The former landowner wrote up a history and habitat piece that is shared on the Big Falls page. Visit: Big Falls Preserve
Bradbury Mountain State Park: Natural Heritage Walk (nature walk for kids)
Print out an easy to use PDF for a fun, kid friendly nature walk at Bradbury Mountain, posted on RRCT’s Bradbury web page.
The Intervale Preserve: History, Wabanaki Heritage, Natural Resources and Habitat
The Intervale Preserve in New Gloucester is owned and managed by the Royal River Conservation Trust with a rich history of train stations, farming, and natural resources.
With recent major expansions to the preserve including land surrounding the Blockhouse, this webpage is evolving yearly to integrate more information the French & Indian War (Blockhouse), and more.
Visit the Intervale Preserve page to learn more and download the self-guided interpretation material on natural resources, habitat, and history.
North Yarmouth History: Royal River Shoreline
The North Yarmouth Historical Society prepared an interpretive map and narrative of the natural and historic features of the Royal River in North Yarmouth, including old mill sites, old commercial fishing sites, old bridge sites, the old Wescustogo Hotel, and more. We’ve posted this information on RRCT’s Royal River Water Trail page (Wescustogo Park to Old Town House Park segment.)
Royal River Park: Historic Interpretive Walk
Royal River Park has a paved path that runs the length of the park along the river and parallel to the heart of Yarmouth village. There are views of three waterfalls, two at old dam sites, and an historic mill site. Most of the park is built on former industrial mill sites. Yarmouth History Center has put together a mobile walking tour that can help you explore Royal River Park and other historic areas of Yarmouth. Visit: Yarmouth History Center to learn more or simply view the tour online from your desk or walking with your phone.
Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village & Shaker Bog
Royal River Conservation Trust and others won awards for successful work on a vast conservation easement covering 1700 acres of working forest, orchards, barns, pastures, shoreline, and habitat surrounding the iconic Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. Today, the village hosts its religious community, library, museum, events, guided nature tours, a working farm, outdoor classrooms, and more. To learn more about nature tours and to see a schedule, visit: Shaker Village Nature’s Outdoor Classroom. To learn more about the museum visit: Shaker Museum
Here’s a short video with aerials of the Village and the Bog.
The Shaker Bog includes exceptional ecology with public access, for self-guided tours. More information on the bog here.
Runaround Pond: Historic Interpretation, Wabanaki Heritage, Fisheries & Stephen King
Runaround Pond has a rich history, including as a location for several works of the author Stephen King, who spent most of his childhood living on Runaround Pond Road. Visit: Runaround Pond for information including an eleven page document that describes the historic, community, and literary context of Runaround Pond and its conservation lands. On the same page you will also find information regarding Stephen King and his relationship to Runaround Pond and the Royal River.
RRCT created these four one-page interpretive 8.5.x11 easily printed sheets to describe the history, natural history, fisheries, and Stephen King context of Runaround Pond. Print them out and bring them with you, or take them to school.
Littlejohn Island Preserve: A Place of Peace (Wabanaki)
For the Wabanaki, Casco Bay has a history of war, imperial dispossession, and peace making. Our Littlejohn Island Preserve webpage includes an essay on Casco Bay as a place of peace for the Wabanaki confederacy.