Mèmak Preserve

 

RRCT’s Mèmak Preserve is a new 46-acre conservation area at 78 Lufkin Road in North Yarmouth. Mèmak is a Wabanaki word for Pileated Woodpeckers, associated with luck and friendship in the culture of Maine’s first people.  

The mature woods are filled with woodpeckers, warblers, and wildlife, and are formed by a diverse mix of red oak, “legacy” mature white pine, hemlock, beech, red pine, and maple.  Few forest stands of this quality exist in Cumberland County.  Surrounded by mossy stone walls, the trails are popular for walking and family-friendly mountain biking. Blueberries, lady slippers, mushrooms, and wildflowers are scattered on the forest floor. A snowmobile trail creates year-round connections to Route 115 near the Gray-North Yarmouth town line.  

In 2020, RRCT raised $30,000 for stewardship and development of this planned new preserve. The full value of 32 acres of woods was donated by Ed & Joyce Gervais and their family, adjacent to an existing 14-acre RRCT Conservation Easement. Scroll below for a list of donors who made this new preserve possible.  

Donors, Vendors and Volunteers

Thank you to the many people who donated to this project:

  • Ed and Joyce Gervais & family
  • Steve Barr and Martha Leggat
  • Christine Force and Tom Cox
  • Bob and Margaret Abbott
  • Rebecca Gervais and Neil Boater
  • Ann Beatty-Rose and Dan Rose
  • Pam and John Ames
  • Audrey Greenhill Lones
  • Steve and Donna Palmer
  • Jeffrey and Robin Babino
  • Kathryn Dion and David Kennedy
  • Rob Wood and Gay Peterson
  • Dan Rosenberg and Jennifer Gervais
  • Ava and Mya Gervais
  • Simon Gervais
  • Gro Flatebo and Kent Wommack
  • Scott Dugas Trucking & Excavating
  • George & Miriam Martin Foundation
  • Ted & Celena Gervais
  • Margaret Burnham Charitable Trust
  • Peter Lindsay and Katie Murphy
  • Anonymous (multiple) 

Thank you to vendors and volunteers who made this project possible:

  • Interpretive content: Freeport Wild Bird Supply
  • Photography: Andy Molloy
  • Cartography: Center for Community GIS 
  • Legal & Title: Douglas McDaniel & Campos, LLC
  • Survey: Wayne Wood
  • Site clearing: SMK, Inc (Lewiston)
  • Kiosk and more: Jonathan Dawson
  • Trail construction: Royal River Snowmobile Club
  • Trail construction: RRCT Trail Crew volunteers
  • Trail construction: Summit Utilities volunteer employee work day
  • Parking lot construction: Scott Dugas Trucking & Excavation
  • Management planning: Conservation Coherence, LLC 
Trails, Trailheads, and Accessibility

Trails and trailheads are evolving during the winter of 2020/2021. In the field you’ll notice weekly changes in survey flagging, temporary signs, and construction. Please be patient and respect all neighbors.  

Today (December 6, 2020) we have opened up an RRCT trailhead parking lot across the road from where today the snowmobile trail comes out of the Dugas gravel pit. The parking lot entrance and trails are on the left side of Lufkin Road, officially 78 Lufkin Road.

Lufkin is a dead-end road in North Yarmouth that leaves Route 231 (New Gloucester Road) just north of the intersection of Routes 115 & 231 (just north of the Congregational Church.) 

Two parallel trails leave the 78 Lufkin Road parking lot, one designed for snowmobiles. The trail network includes a one-mile “lollipop” loop trail for walking and biking, as well as spurs connecting to neighborhoods and powerlines.  

No trails exist to, or upon, the majestic forest of the Deer Brook parcel. It is reserved for adventurous folks looking for off-trail exploration after crossing the raspberries and brambles of the powerline.  

Rules and Regulations and Hunting

We have not yet formally adopted rules for this planned new preserve.  We plan to continue to allow safe and responsible hunting, dogs under control, mountain bikes, snowmobiles, and other uses.  Please keep dogs on leash near roads, parking, and residences. Please let us know your thoughts or questions, and check back with us later for new rules.  

No hunting is allowed on the Deer Brook parcel, due to subdivision covenants.

RRCT & You: Updates, Alerts, & Cautions

This preserve is evolving with trail construction, thus please use caution if exploring the property and expect unfinished trails, evolving signage, construction sites, and other concerns. 

  • 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 – Please consider filling out a Conditions Report. 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 Stewardship@RRCT.org
Stewardship and Conservation History

Donated in August, 2020, by Ed & Joyce Gervais and their family, the preserve is a cherished addition to North Yarmouth’s rapidly growing village zone.  This Forecaster article from December 2020 describes the donation.  

The nearby (see map) Deer Brook Farm Road conservation easement was granted to the North Yarmouth Land Trust (now merged with Royal River Conservation Trust) on December 29, 1988, as part of the Deer Brook subdivision.  RRCT’s oldest conservation deeds are various deeds of the North Yarmouth Land Trust in 1988, the year of the founding of the first of RRCT’s various predecessor organizations.

Natural Resources, Habitat, and Historic Interpretation

Mèmak is a Wabanaki word for Pileated Woodpeckers, associated with luck and friendship in the culture of Maine’s first people.  

One of the best-recorded Wabanaki languages is the Penobscot language.  To learn more about the Penobscot language, for translation and pronunciation, this online Penobscot dictionary is an amazing new resource which we used for the spelling and pronunciation of “Mèmak (plural).” 

To read more about Mèmak and stories of native American woodpecker legend and heritage, see: Abenaki/ Algonquin legends.

The mature woods are filled with woodpeckers, warblers, and wildlife, and are formed by a diverse mix of red oak, “Legacy” white pine, hemlock, beech, red pine, and maple.  With trees more than twenty inches in diameter, few forest stands of this quality exist in Cumberland County.  Surrounded by mossy stone walks, the trails are popular for walking and family-friendly mountain biking. Blueberries, lady slippers, mushrooms, and wildflowers are scattered on the forest floor. 

The preserve is located on the northern slopes of Walnut Hill, draining toward Deer Brook.  The unique ecology of this area is due to the significant gravel deposits under the preserve, feeding Deer Brook with clear cold water that supports wild brook trout. While many gravel deposits in the area have been excavated, the woods of Mèmak Preserve remain supported by well-drained soils and gravel, resulting in a more diverse forest than most of the watershed (most of the watershed is ledge and clay). The stone walls lining the trails, similarly, are made from small boulders typical of a gravel deposit, as compared to other walls in the watershed that are made of ledgey stone or granite.  

On one edge of the property, a few old granite fence posts still stand, perhaps serving as gate posts in a gap in the stone walls.  

While the edges of the preserve were recently harvested, most of the preserve has had no timber harvest for more than fifty years, resulting in mature trees supporting a diversity of bird life and wildlife.

Across the powerline, the Deer Brook parcel contains equally old, mature and diverse forests although with steeper slopes and wetter soils, thus dominated by hemlock and mature birch.  The short stretch of Deer Brook hosts small quantities of mossy shoreline and wild trout, and is mapped (with various small tributaries) by Maine DIFW as Inland Wading Bird and Waterfowl Habitat. 

Bird Watching

The Mèmak Preserve is not only home to the pileated woodpecker, but also to Pine Siskins, Red Crossbills, Nuthatches, Tufted Titmouses and more. Visit The Best Birding in the Royal River Watershed to learn more.

Mèmak Preserve Puzzles

Learn more about the Mèmak Preserve with this: free online map puzzle

Or try this one: Pileated Woodpecker puzzle

Or the mystery photo puzzle from a photo taken on the Mèmak Preserve