Updated: Farmington’s Powder House Hill Trails project completed, volunteers thanked
Updated: A map of the trail network has been added.
FARMINGTON - Gathered under the great softwoods towering above as rain lightly fell, a group of dedicated volunteers said a few words, cut a ribbon and, fittingly enough, headed off for a walk in these special woods.
The occasion, held Saturday morning, was to mark the end of the two-year Powder House Hill Trails Project that improved and connected areas of the trail network located off Anson Street and Titcomb Hill Road, all within easy walking distance of downtown Farmington.
The work that encompassed the adjacent Bonney, Flint and Village Corporation woods, included drainage along the pathways, trail resurfacing, new signs and the construction of three bridges. In 2011, founding project organizers Art Perry and Buzz Davis successfully secured a $33,561 federal grant, administered through the Recreational Trails Program of the Maine Department of Conservation. That was matched with local donations of money, including a Franklin Savings Bank matching donation, also in-kind equipment and volunteer contributions that brought the project's total to $47,561.
Bonney Woods Corp. was founded in 1908 when James H. Bonney created the 10-acre Bonney Woods off Anson Street through a bequest. The woods corporation was again the recipient of a land bequest in 1988 when James P. Flint donated the Flint Woods off Titcomb Hill Road. This non-profit charitable organization is governed by a 16-member board of directors who are all neighbors or have other ties to the woods. The Farmington Village Corp., the town's water department, has nearly 80 acres with trails on Powder House Hill, adjacent to the Flint and Bonney woods. Part of the improvement was to provide trail links between the parcels.
Jane Woodman, business manager for the water department and a volunteer with the trail project, noted the trail improvement work "started on Arbor Day 2011 in one of many raining volunteer days" and continued over the course of nearly two years with many in the community lending a hand.
Peter Broderick arrived to volunteer and ended up managing the project because he had trail maintenance experience. "This was a big effort in the community," he said.
Various groups of volunteers came to help that included Rick Hardy's fifth-grade class at Cascade Brook School, Grace Eason's University of Maine at Farmington students, the Farmington Conservation Commission, a local mountain bike group, the Maine Forest Service's Fuel Reduction Program and Pastor Keith Lawrence's church congregation from Alabama. Among the individual volunteers, Woodman said that Karen McCann had cleaned up the entrance to Flint Woods, sited and designed the trail signs and maps.
Along with others attending the ceremony, Woodman, especially thanked Art Perry for his "ever-present reminder of the reason we were here-- to maintain these trails for others."
The project's committee chairman, Paul McGuire said, "it took a lot of love," to complete the project and "to all of you who gave money and time, thank you so much."
Linda Flint Wentzell of Yarmouth, cut the ceremonial ribbon draped across the entrance to Flint Woods, named for her father James P. Flint. Then before heading off into the woods for a hike after the ceremony, she turned and with a smile said she was "thrilled" to see the trail improvements completed.
She remembered her father loved to walk in these woods well into his 80s. Wentzell was with her 87-year-old father on his last stroll together through the woods about 15 years ago when he suddenly collapsed and died.
"He would have been happy about this," Wentzell said of the trail project.
The trails can be found at www.mainetrailfinder.com