OLD TOWN, Maine — Hirundo Wildlife Refuge will transition from fall hours, which are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; to winter hours of 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday-Sunday, beginning Dec. 16, at Gate 1, weather permitting. Parking is available at Gate 1 and Gate 3 throughout the winter. All trails are open seven days a week for everyone, from dawn to dusk.
Hirundo Wildlife Refuge extends north and south of Route 43. Its northern part is accessible through Gates 1, 2, and 3, and features a 3-mile network of trails. Seven trails and Lac D’or, the “Lake of Gold”, are at the end of the 1/2-mile long dirt road beginning at Gate 1. Among them are the Wabanaki and Pushaw Stream trails both with interpretive signs about environment, early human settlement and wildlife.
Since 2010, the beaver has been busy building dams by using the existing trail and turning the vernal pool next to the Wabanaki trail into a year-round pond. At the intersection of Thornplum and Wabanaki trails, a White Pine stand dampens the hiker’s steps and beyond it lays an old field. In it, a large rock pile serves as a reminder of the hard labor of farmers and Maine’s rocky past. After many twists and turns, the Thornplum trail swings back to the dirt road.
Opposite Gate 1 across Route 43 is Gate 6, Hirundo’s “wildest area” with a five-trail network, totaling 8 miles (round trip). The Trapper’s trail is a one-mile long, former logging road through mixed forest. The Indian Pipe trail leads to Hirundo Wildlife Refuge’s highest point 184 feet and the only beech/oak tree stand along the trail network.
Hirundo invites everyone to explore this seven-mile trail system by hiking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing (trails are for foot traffic only). Hirundo’s mission is to preserve wildlife and habitat, promote biological diversity, and protect cultural and natural resources special to Maine. Please enjoy the opportunity to view wildlife but leave your pet at home (to reduce disturbance to wildlife and habitat). Thank you. For more information, please visit www.hirundomaine.org.