Hundred Acre Wood to open on Blue Hill peninsula

New bog bridging spans a soggy section of the Hundred Acre Wood Trail during August in the Blue Hill Heritage Trust's Hundred Acre Wood in Brooklin. The trail officially opens to the public Sept. 14.
Courtesy of Blue Hill Heritage Trust
New bog bridging spans a soggy section of the Hundred Acre Wood Trail during August in the Blue Hill Heritage Trust's Hundred Acre Wood in Brooklin. The trail officially opens to the public Sept. 14.
By Aislinn Sarnacki, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 11, 2013, at 12:25 p.m.

The Blue Hill Heritage Trust will celebrate the grand opening of a 1.7-mile loop hiking trail at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, with a trail head ribbon cutting and group hike.

Hundred Acre Wood Trail is the first hiking trail BHHT has constructed in Brooklin. It is located on a 113-acre wooded parcel that was donated to the trust in 2012 by Stephen Winthop and his wife M. Jane Williamson, summer residents of Brooklin, where their family owned a home for 90 years.

“When we sold our house in North Brooklin 12 years ago, we kept the land behind the house because we had fallen in love with its trails and varied habitat,” Winthrop said in the BHHT summer 2013 newsletter. “We couldn’t stand the idea of it being chopped up for house lots. Now we have the peace of mind that the land will be protected forever, and that the public will now enjoy the recreational use of the land as much as we have.”

“They decided that donating it to our land trust would be the best way to keep it as a natural area and allow people to walk in Brooklin,” said BHHT Executive Director Jim Dow.

Winthrop, Williamson and their two daughters are active walkers, and over the years, the family came to call the property “Hundred Acre Wood” after the fictional home of Winnie-the-Pooh, a popular children’s book (and TV cartoon) character created by English author A. A. Milne in the 1920s and later revived by Disney.

BHHT decided to keep the family’s name for the preserve and trail.

While several old trails weave through the land, the BHHT decided to design a new trail for the public to enjoy. The 1.7-mile loop, complete with bog bridging and signs, was constructed this summer with the help of consultant Cathy Rees, trail manager Ken Burgess, the trust’s volunteer crew and the Brooklin Youth Corps. The corps is a group of local teens who spend up to 30 hours a week earning minimum wage doing chores for homeowners, as well as public service projects around town.

“I would classify the trail as easy to moderate,” said Burgess in an email interview. “The inclines are gradual, and there are 17 8-foot bog bridges to traverse the areas that are sometimes wet.”

“In addition to people who enjoy a walk in the woods, those who are serious about trail running will probably find this trail enjoyable,” he said. “It should also be great for snowshoeing.”

The trail work was supported by a $4,100 grant from the Maine Community Foundation’s Hancock County Fund.

“For a 100-acre property, it has a really diverse forest, a lot of different types of stands, which makes it very interesting to walk through,” said Dow. “It has some open blueberry grounds and it’s actually near the highest point of Brooklin — which isn’t very high.”

The first map of the Hundred Acre Wood, available through the BHHT website, includes two natural highlights, a white cedar forest and a glacial erratic.

Rees, a Brooklin resident and experienced ecologist, is currently conducting a natural resource inventory of the land, a project that will take about a year to complete. Her work will provide the trust with more in-depth information about the property to guide long-term stewardship.

“She’s already found a significant vernal pool, among other things,” Dow said.

The Hundred Acre Wood Trail is the second new trail that BHLT has opened to the public this summer. In August, the trust celebrated the opening of the 2-mile Becton Trail on Blue Hill Mountain.

“We’ve been creating a lot of trails, and we have more to come, actually, on land we’re acquiring,” said Dow. “In some ways, it’s an obvious community benefit to have conserved land. There’s a high demand to have places to walk — for recreation and solitude and health.”

BHHT — a nationally accredited nonprofit, membership-based land conservation organization founded in 1985 — currently owns or holds conservation easements on 6,293 acres of land throughout the Blue Hill peninsula, including 18 miles of hiking trails.

The trail head to the Hundred Acre Wood Trail is located off High Street in Brooklin, about 500 feet south of the street’s intersection with Hales Wood Road. BHHT plans to construct a small parking area, but for the time being, trail users are asked to park along the side of the road, well out of the way of traffic.

For information, call BHHT membership coordinator Eileen Mielenhausen at 374-5118, email eileen@bluehillheritagetrust.org or visit bluehillheritagetrust.org. A new trail guide covering conservation lands on the Blue Hill peninsula is available for $5 at the BHHT office located in the William Carleton House at 258 Mountain Road in Blue Hill and at Blue Hill Books at 26 Pleasant St. in Blue Hill.

A “1-minute Hike” video and summary of the Hundred Acre Trail will be posted next Tuesday at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com, and the summary is scheduled to run in print in the Outdoors section next Thursday.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/09/11/outdoors/hundred-acre-wood-to-open-on-blue-hill-peninsula/ printed on December 17, 2014