Hikers find peace and quiet at Bangor preserve

Posted July 26, 2012, at 3:45 p.m.
A marsh borders the southern edge of the Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve, an 80-acre tract near the Bangor Mall.
Brian Swartz
A marsh borders the southern edge of the Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve, an 80-acre tract near the Bangor Mall.

Because the Bangor City Forest and the Orono Bog get all the attention — i.e., lots of visitors — the nearby Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve does not.

And that fact means that hikers exploring this Bangor Land Trust property near the Bangor Mall often experience nature in peace and quiet.

The 80-acre Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve spreads across heavily wooded terrain between the Kittredge Road and the Veazie Railroad Bed. Direct access starts at a kiosk and trail head located opposite a gravel pull-out on the Kittredge Road, a short distance from where the road reaches an entrance gate at the former city landfill.

To enjoy a Penjajawoc hike, bring a digital camera, apply bug spray, and wear long pants. Mosquitoes abound in the woods, less so in the open terrain along the railroad bed.

Be aware that, as in the nearby Bangor City Forest, mountain bikers travel the Penjajawoc trails. Cyclists should warn hikers when approaching from behind them. Trees and undergrowth obscure horizontal sight: Cyclists and hikers alike must be alert.

From the kiosk, the trail passes 0.1 miles through a mixed forest dominated by white pine, then splits at a wye intersection. A metal map identifies the preserve’s trail network; photograph this map for reference. While the BLT has placed similar maps at other trail intersections, carrying a map — albeit digital — makes sense in the preserve’s dense forest.

At the wye intersection, the “left” trail splits southwest to brush against the preserve’s boundaries and then loops north for a total length of 0.41 miles. The “right” trail splits northwest and gradually descends 0.32 miles through an upland forest. Well-maintained bog bridges, some covered with chicken wire to eliminate damage caused by mountain bikes, carry the trail across wet areas.

The trail passes a marsh, then intersects the “left” trail on its northward route through a riparian forest. Here flows a stream that drains the adjacent marsh; at the marked trail intersection, bear left to return to the Kittredge Road or bear right, cross the wooden bridge spanning the stream, and immediately reach another wye intersection.

• The “left” trail winds west 0.21 miles to the Veazie Railroad Bed. The forest canopy opens slightly, letting more sunlight reach the forest floor.

• The “right” trail winds north 0.23 miles to yet another wye intersection, from which a hiker can bear right 0.16 miles to a marsh overlook along the power line bordering the preserve — or bear left and walk 0.24 miles through a predominantly hardwood forest to reach the Veazie Railroad Bed.

The two intersections that the Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve trails share with the railroad bed are a quarter-mile apart.

From the railroad bed, hikers can access the Penjajawoc Marsh to the south or the Bangor City Forest or the Walden-Parke Preserve (another Bangor Land Trust property) to the north. A small portion of the Penjajawoc Marsh lies just south of the Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve; pause on the railroad bed to watch for waterfowl and other wildlife.

Allowing time for photography, hiking the preserve should take no more than two hours. Adventurous hikers can extend the distance by exploring the Walden-Parke Preserve or venturing south along the Veazie Railroad Bed to where the Penjajawoc Stream has cut a wide opening through it. Although Home Depot lies in view, no direct access to Stillwater Avenue exists at this site.

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