Monday October 19 was a lovely crisp autumn day for some heavy lifting at Pemaquid Watershed Association’s (PWA) Crooked Farm Preserve. Thirty two strong folks from four different organizations came together to haul in materials for new bridging. The team included apprentices of the Carpenter’s Boat Shop, trail work volunteers of PWA and Damariscotta River Association (DRA), and six members of the Maine Conservation Corps (MCC). The hardy workers spent a full day transporting heavy planks and boards a mile and a half or more along the trails to the construction sites. For the remainder of that week the MCC crew, along with several PWA volunteers, built a bridge over a stream and completed several bog bridges. Crooked Farm Preserve Steward, Jim Hatch, led the project, including purchasing the materials and leading the crews. PWA’s Program Coordinator Carolyn Shubert organized the participants and helped with the hauling. This bridge project continues work started last fall and serves to make public access to the preserve’s trails safer and easier for all.

A Lowe’s Community Partners grant funded this bridge repair project at Crooked Farm, as well as new bridging at PWA’s La Verna Preserve and Doyle Preserve, kiosk maintenance at Bearce-Allen Preserve, and construction of new kiosks at PWA’s new Pemaquid Pond and Hatchtown Preserves. This grant is one of more than 60 merit-based grants awarded nationally by Lowe’s to community-based affiliates of Keep America Beautiful to support grassroots service projects. Fields Pond Foundation also supported the Crooked Farm bridge improvements as well as a refurbishment of the preserve’s parking lot slated to happen this month. PWA donated $1,000 to the Carpenter’s Boat Shop in gratitude for the assistance that the Boat Shop apprentices provided on the bridge project; the donation was made possible by the Lowe’s Community Partners grant.

The public invited to try out the new bridging at Crooked Farm Preserve. The 129-acre preserve, which is off Old County Road in Bristol, features about 3 miles of trails and about a mile of Pemaquid River frontage. It was established in 2002 as a result of a community partnership among the Crook family, the Carpenter’s Boat Shop, PWA, and DRA, along with the financial support of the local community. The preserve is owned by PWA and is held in conservation easement by and is co-managed with DRA. The preserve is open to hunting, so visitors are encouraged to wear blaze orange clothing.

To reach the preserve from Damariscotta, travel Route 130 5.5 miles south of Bristol Mills, turn left onto Old County Road at the Bristol Library. Preserve parking is 0.8 miles in on the left. If the lot is under construction, park a bit further down the road at the Boat Shop.

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