Paddling the Androscoggin
July 29, 2011
Auburn, Maine - The Androscoggin Land Trust (ALT) and the Androscoggin River Watershed Council (ARWC) are announcing four paddling trips for canoeists and kayakers over the next week, as the 16th Annual Source to Sea Trek makes its way into Lewiston-Auburn. The events will feature discussions ranging from efforts to conserve working farms in Maine to a recently launched planning effort to link the new Androscoggin Riverlands State Park to downtown Lewiston-Auburn via land and water trails.
The Source to Sea Trek, a multi-week event that starts at the headwaters of the Androscoggin River and ends at Merrymeeting Bay.
Beginning on Friday July 29th, Maine Farmland Trust staffer Nina Young will provide a brief presentation on the on-going efforts of that organization to protect working farms throughout Maine. The paddle during this day, from Twin Bridges/Googins Island in Leeds to Center Bridge Road in Turner, is fitting for this discussion given the recently conserved River Rise Farm trekkers will pass in the first couple of miles of this trip. The farm was conserved at the end of 2010 through a partnership with MFT and ALT.
The Saturday trip on the 30th will include the section of Gulf Island Pond, a term for the Androscoggin River in the impoundment north of the Gulf Island Dam. This paddling trip will follow the shoreline of the newly designated Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, a property first conserved in the early 1990's by local conservationists that played a role in creating ALT. State Park staff will join the group to provide an overview of on-going efforts of this nearly 2,600 acre park.
The third day of paddling, Sunday the 31st, includes a short round trip from the North River Road boat access in Auburn north to the ALT-owned David Rancourt River Preserve in Lewiston and back. This trip will be led by longtime ALT Board member Judy Marden and will include conversations about on-going land trail planning in Lewiston and a guided walk of the Rancourt Preserve before heading back downstream.
And to wrap up the transition of the river events from the rural landscapes of Turner and Leeds to the heart of downtown Lewiston-Auburn, ALT and ARWC are teaming up with the Young Professionals of the Lewiston-Auburn Area (YPLAA) to host a Paddle After Hours on Thursday August 4th. The event is intended to be a convenient way for paddlers to get together after work, enjoy a short paddle around the historic millscapes and canals of the cities, and end up with some refreshments and live music from Gritty McDuff's on the riverfront in Auburn. Last year's event, which drew more than 60 paddlers, had Main Street filled with kayak and canoe topped cars and trucks.
"It's amazing how beautiful the river is leading up to and including downtown Lewiston-Auburn. Friday's stretch through Turner is incredibly rural, Saturday we paddle through Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, which is unspoiled despite being so close to one of Maine's largest cities, and on Sunday, you won't believe how peaceful the tree-lined banks of the river are between the North River Road boat launch in Auburn and the David Rancourt Preserve in Lewiston. Last year we even saw an eagle on that stretch" shares Jessie Perkins, Trek Coordinator for ARWC, summing up the weekend trips.
With the movement in Maine to protect and promote quality of place as an economic development strategy, these two days of paddling are expected to offer attendees a glimpse into this strategy in action through both working landscapes and conservation and downtown revitalization and walkable communities.
For those seeking more information, requests can be made to the Androscoggin Land Trust at 207-782-2302 or the Androscoggin River Watershed Council at 207-754-8158. On-line registrations for the Trek are now available at http://arwc.camp7.org
Friday July 29th - Meet at 9 AM
Conserving Working Farms in Maine
Start at Googins Island, Leeds (Route 219)
End at Center Bridge Road, Turner
Bring your own lunch
Saturday July 30th - Meet at 9 AM
The Androscoggin Riverlands State Park and Recreation on Gulf Island Pond
Start at Center Bridge Road, Turner
End at Switzerland Road, Lewiston (off Route 202)
Bring your own lunch
Sunday July 31st - Meet at 9 AM
Trail Planning into Downtown Lewiston-Auburn and a Guided Walk at the Rancourt Preserve
Start and End at North River Road Boat Access, Auburn (off Route 4)
Bring your own snacks
Thursday August 4th - Meet at 5:30 PM
Downtown Recreation and Revitalization in Lewiston-Auburn
Start and End at Festival Plaza access point, Auburn (off Route 136)
Light appetizers provided after compliments of Gritty McDuff's
The Androscoggin Land Trust is a membership supported land conservation organization dedicated to protecting, through land conservation and stewardship, the important natural areas, traditional landscapes and outdoor experience in the Androscoggin River watershed. ALT currently conserves over 4,750 acres and more than 10 miles along the Androscoggin River
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