When a timber company with lands along the Androscoggin River began to divest itself of its Maine holdings in the late 1980s, local residents grew concerned that the woods they had long enjoyed for traditional recreation might be subdivided and developed. They circulated petition drives, created a video about the property, and sought help from the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program, which provided four grants over 6 years to purchase two riverfront properties – a 1,909-acre tract in Turner and a 336-acre parcel in Leeds.
The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands now manages these lands, and the Androscoggin Riverlands parcel in Turner has 15 miles of multiple-use trails (cross-country skiing trails, snowshoe trails, and mountain biking trails ) and 8 miles of hiking trails. Its “Homestead Trail” offers walkers a chance to explore the property’s interesting history, going by the foundations of numerous houses that lined the shores of the river from the 1870s until 1927 (when they were razed to make way for rising waters behind the newly constructed Gulf Island dam). Area students and other young people have played a major role in creating this trail–with high school students laying it out, Maine Conservation Corps members building it, and Bates College students doing the historical and ecological research for an informative brochure (available through the Androscoggin Land Trust).
The community effort to protect these properties helped spark formation of the Androscoggin Land Trust, a regional organization that is working to protect additional riverfront and important open space in the region.
Please note: Outside of snowmobile use in winter, motorized vehicles are allowed on the land only between May 15 and December 15. Between the end of snowmobiling season and May 15, the road into the property is closed and gated by rule, with foot traffic only allowed. A property map shows multi-use trails and hiking trails.
Central Maine Lakes District – Kennebec, Androscoggin
Directions from nearest town
DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer Map 11, C/D-5. From Route 4 in Turner, take Route 117 east about 2 miles turning right at a fork just before a 4-way intersection. Continue straight past the store onto Center Bridge Rd and proceed another 2 miles to the parking lot on the right. The property is accessible by water from the public boat landing 1/3 mile beyond the parking lot.