CANAAN - Trails expansion at Lake George Regional Park took a step forward this month with a gift of land from Somerset Woods Trustees.
A nonprofit land trust formed in 1927, the Trustees own nearly 1800 acres of land in nine towns for conservation, recreation and habitat protection. In early June, Somerset Woods Trustees transferred ownership of a 1.4-acre lakefront parcel adjoining the park’s East Side.
“Somerset Woods Trustees is pleased to have partnered for many years with Lake George Regional Park to help protect the park and lake. We acquired a lot on the lake 18 years ago to prevent it from being developed. While the lot is critical to the park for management and trails, it is not as critical to our mission. Thus, we are happy to give the land to Lake George Corporation for its continued use and enjoyment,” said Jack Gibson, president of the Trustees. “Personally, as a founding member of Lake George Corporation and former LGRP president for nine years, I am very happy that this has been accomplished. It is in good hands.”
According to Darryll White, chief administrator at the park, the land will support the continued enhancement of recreational opportunities at the park.
“Lake George Regional Park is very appreciative of Somerset Woods Trustees’ generous gift of this property. As the park looks to further serve the community as both a recreation facility and a recreation programmer, our plans include the redesign and expansion of park trails. This additional land will be utilized for this purpose,” said White. “Currently, we are also working with the Trust and other community agencies on regional trail improvements and expansion as part of a broader effort to encourage healthy outdoor activity at the community and regional level."
LGRP is a day-use lakeside park established in 1992, owned by the State of Maine, leased through inter-local agreement by the towns of Skowhegan and Canaan, and managed for public use by Lake George Corporation (LGC). Easily accessible off Route 2, each year a combination of roughly 26,000 community members and visitors use the lake and its surrounding 320 acres of land for freshwater swimming, fishing, picnicking, boating, hiking, skiing, playing fields and group use facilities.
“Lake George Regional Park is also interested in maintaining the undeveloped lands in and around the park, thus we have strong interest in further land acquisition for the purpose of preservation. The park is actively pursuing land gifts and the funding to acquire additional property surrounding the park,” White said.
From open fields to forests; from walking trails to mountain bike trails; from picnic sites and playgrounds to water access: we offer all of this to those who live or visit Somerset County.
SWT has an exciting new acquisition project to announce: the protection of a 38-acre parcel with 800 ft of frontage on Wesserunsett Stream. The protection of this land will offer expanded and improved access to new trails connecting with our other parcels all the way to the Kennebec!
SWT has purchased 275 acres of pristine forest in Madison with over one mile of water frontage. If you have paddled the Kennebec between North Anson and Madison, then you have traveled around much of the Weston Woods peninsular. This region includes exceptional wildlife habitat. It is the largest Maine Natural Resource Focus Area on the Kennebec River and also is an Important Wading Bird Habitat area. Once Phase 1 trails are complete, there will be over 3 miles of passive recreational trails.
Thanks to the generosity of two members of the Weston family SWT has secured a mile of land and trail easements along the Kennebec River. Beginning at the town's boat ramp park, the trail winds along the river to Weston Avenue, just a few steps from the future trailhead into Weston Woods.
The Weston Woods and Waters trail will cross the future extension of the state's Bingham to North Anson rail trail from North Anson to Oakland. Furthermore, there is an existing snowmobile trail that crosses Weston Woods that will also cross near the new rail trail. SWT plans to support regional efforts to capitalize on this trail system to stimulate eco-recreation for our Kennebec River towns. The multi-use trails will be accessible from Main Street in Madison.