NEW FALL 2023! Little Meadow Preserve was donated to RRCT in late October 2023, and does not yet have parking other than road shoulder parking. The preserve does not yet have trails and does not yet have boundaries clearly marked – if exploring the property please do so only if confident you can stay within the preserve and respect neighbors’ land.
Little Meadow Preserve is a 67-acre forest owned and managed by RRCT, including wetlands and a small meadow where sheep once grazed. Located on Peacock Hill Road in New Gloucester, the preserve is on the Auburn-New Gloucester municipal line. The preserve is within a 1,200 acre block of undeveloped forest, one of the largest forests in greater Portland.
- Little Meadow Preserve map – Downloadable PDF
- Regional context map – Coming Soon
Trails, Trailheads, and Accessibility
- Parking is currently limited to road shoulder parking between 247 and 269 Peacock Hill Road. There are plans to one day construct a small parking lot for accessing the preserve.
- Currently there are no trails on the property. RRCT may one day create a short trail to the meadow – but the vision for the preserve in the near-term is a trail-free destination. The preserve will always be accessible only for those prepared for a rugged off-trail experience, hunting, and those committed to leave-no-trace principles.
RRCT & You: Updates, Alerts & Cautions
- The Preserve is separated from the Royal River by the inactive St. Lawrence and Atlantic railroad and the active Maine Central railroad that borders the property. Please do not cross the train tracks to access the river – it is illegal.
- Little Meadow Preserve was recently created and does not yet have parking besides road shoulder parking. The preserve does not yet have trails and does not yet have boundaries clearly marked – if exploring the property please do so only if confident you can stay within the preserve and respect neighbors’ land.
- RRCT & You: RRCT relies heavily on volunteers and help from trail users like you. You may know more recent information about trail and preserve conditions than we do. We invite you to be a thoughtful steward by acting as a respectful visitor, adhering to posted rules, and following Leave No Trace practices. RRCT’s small staff and volunteer Trail Crew is able to inspect and maintain RRCT preserves infrequently; we ask you to report to us any issues you observe that you cannot address yourself, and especially to update us on any safety or public safety issues. Please help us on your visits with litter, pet waste, and minor trail issues. We also invite any information on needed or suggested updates to this webpage. Reach out in any way, most simply with an email to info@RRCT.org.
Rules, Regulations, and Hunting
- The preserve is open for hunting, foraging, hiking, and snowshoeing. Off-trail travel requires exceptional attention to minimizing human impact and respecting neighbors’ land, especially noting the current lack of preserve or boundary signage.
- Visitors are prohibited from having fires.
- Dogs are welcome, but on leash or voice control. Dogs must be on leash near parking, residences, or on paved roads.
- Please respect various postings on private abutting land.
- Safe and responsible hunting on the preserve is allowed. We promote safe hunting experiences and ask all hikers to wear orange during all hunting seasons.
- Smoking is prohibited at all RRCT Preserves.
- The 67-acre preserve was donated to Royal River Conservation Trust in October 2023 by Andrew and Joanne McKee. The McKees had owned the parcel for 47 years (since July 14, 1976, just after the US Bicentennial). On the day of the land donation, Andrew reflected: “One day many years ago, as I found myself reminiscing about what rural Massachusetts life had been like while I was growing up, I realized that there was no longer a ‘there.’ Rather than musing about what had been, I looked for where ‘there’ might still be and found it here in New Gloucester. Now that ‘there’ is here, we can ensure that it will forever be so.”
- Located on Peacock Hill Road in New Gloucester, the preserve is on the Auburn-New Gloucester municipal line. The preserve is within a 1,200 acre block of undeveloped land. These 1,200 acres are on the edge of a key focus area for RRCT, one of the largest undeveloped areas of land remaining in Greater Portland. RRCT’s four-town “hotspot” conservation focus area is where Auburn, New Gloucester, Durham, and Pownal meet.
- Funding for this parcel and the larger Upper Royal Conservation Project came in part from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.