From the community

Pedal or Paddle Your Way through the Sebasticook Valley

Posted Aug. 30, 2013, at 12:07 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 28, 2013, at 1:52 p.m.
Avalon Acres will be the second stop on the approximately 30-mile bicycle tour around Central Maine coordinated by Sebasticook Regional Land Trust.
Avalon Acres will be the second stop on the approximately 30-mile bicycle tour around Central Maine coordinated by Sebasticook Regional Land Trust.
The Balfour Family will welcome Farm & Habitat Tour participants as the first stop in the Sept. 14, 2013 bicycle tour of Central Maine wild and working lands.
The Balfour Family will welcome Farm & Habitat Tour participants as the first stop in the Sept. 14, 2013 bicycle tour of Central Maine wild and working lands.

PITTSFIELD – Explore the heart of Maine with Sebasticook Regional Land Trust at the fifth annual Farm & Habitat Tour on Saturday, Sept. 14.

The event, presented in partnership with Healthy Sebasticook Valley, features a 33-mile leisurely bike ride with rest stops and tours at farms and nature preserves, or a guided paddle on the Sebasticook River. Both events will begin at 9 AM in Pittsfield at the Sebasticook Valley Community Health Fair tent on Leighton Street. Rain date is Sunday, Sept. 15.

Registrations will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m. the day of the ride, but people are encouraged to register early to ensure they receive this year’s tour t-shirt. The registration fees for either the bike or paddle tour are $15 per person or $30 per family (up to 2 adults and unlimited children).

Participants may register online or download a registration form at www.SebasticookRLT.org or request a form by emailing or calling Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, at jennifer@sebasticookrlt.org or 948-3766. Registration forms are also available at the Trust’s Facebook page.

There will be four bicycle tour stops this year including Balfour Farm in Pittsfield, Avalon Acres Orchard & Farm of St. Albans and Madawaska Bog in Palmyra. All stops will offer locally produced or sourced refreshments, and hosts will be available to answer questions and provide assistance. A bicycle support vehicle will be available to attend to minor bike repair, first aid needs and weary riders.

The Donahue Family’s Balfour Farm is a certified organic dairy, where the main focus is to provide high quality fresh milk, yogurt and cheeses to the community. The cows on Balfour Farm are a mix of Normande, Red and White Holstein, and Jersey cattle. The cows are fed a primarily grass-based diet, including rotational grazing on the farm’s 100 acres.

Avalon Acres Orchard & Farm on the southern shore of Big Indian Pond features a variety of fruits and berries, including pick-your-own apples in the fall. Owners Mark and Wendy Sheriff purchased the farm in 2005 and look forward to introducing riders to this family-owned and operated orchard with over 350 fruit bearing trees, highbush blueberries, vegetables, small animals and more.

A Wildlife Management Area owned by the State of Maine, Madawaska Bog’s 295 acres offers habitat for abundant waterfowl, wading birds, deer and other wildlife. A wildlife biologist will be at the site to share information about the bog, its inhabitants and allowable uses.

For those who would rather be out on the water, there will be a guided paddle along the Sebasticook River beginning in Pittsfield. Please note that the paddle will likely last no more than 2 hours and will end sooner than the bike tour. Paddle participants must provide their own boat and wear a personal flotation device (PFD).

This year’s tour sponsors include ReVision Energy, Sebasticook Valley Health, Organic Valley, Kennebec Timber Framing, Kleinschmidt Associates, HealthySV, Stonyfield, Bud’s Shop ‘n Save, Law Office of Burky & McCarthy, Maine Eye Care Associates, Unity College and the Unity College Teacher Education Program. Community sponsors and volunteers make this event possible! If you would like to contribute to the tour’s success with a cash donation, a contribution of local edibles or beverages, or your own precious time, please contact our office.

Sebasticook Regional Land Trust is proud to be a trusted community partner, working with willing landowners to conserve the lands they love and the resources our community relies upon – things like clean water, family farms, well-managed working forests, and places to hunt, fish and recreate with our families. Located in the heart of Maine, the Sebasticook River watershed is a region of high ecological value and agricultural productivity. For more information, visit http://www.SebasticookRLT.org or find us on Facebook.

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