Franklin Countys First News

Updated: Farmington’s Powder House Hill Trails project completed, volunteers thanked

Buzz Davis, at center in a brown coat, told those attending a ribbon cutting it took a community's collaboration for the Powder House Hill Trail Project to be completed after nearly two years of volunteer trail work and a successful matching grant application.

Linda Flint Wentzell cuts the ribbon to officially open the new and improved trail system known as the Powder House Hill Trail Project. The improvement project encompasses the adjacent Flint, Bonney and Village woods off Anson Street and Titcomb Hill Road in Farmington.

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

Jane Woodman, at left and Linda Flint Wentzell head off into Flint Woods after the ribbon cutting and sign dedication for the Powder House Hill Trail Project.

The Powder House Hill Trails Network map is available on the new kiosk at the Flint Woods/Village Woods parking area. (Courtesy of Karen McCann)

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14 Responses »

  1. Just returned from a walk through the new trails a half hour ago.

    They're a fantastic addition to the already existing system of

    trails.

  2. These woods are beautiful. We are so blessed to have them in Farmington.Thanks to everyone for their hard work to keep them such a special place.

  3. Thanks to the volunteers. I am honored to live in such a wonderful community.

  4. Oh just another great thing for us lucky enough to live in Farmington.
    Heartfelt Thanks to all those good people involved.
    I just absolutely Love Our Community !!
    Thank You from a Lifelong Walker.

  5. Heartfelt thanks to the multitude of dedicated individuals who have brought even greater beauty and peace to this gem of woods and trails. Going forward we are going to have all the greater need for an oasis away from the stress of economic woes and hectic highly technologized lives.

  6. These complementary “developments” regarding conservation and land use ‘interests” are stand out “no brainers” and are priceless in terms of the value added to the community for the benefit of its citizens and visitors

    Just a bit up the Titcomb Hill Road (nearly contiguous) from Flint Woods is the 55 acre tract “Clifford Woods” donated in trust to the Small Wood Owners Association of Maine’s Land Trust by Gordon Clifford

    Overtures to explore the expansion of the just dedicated Powder House Hill Trails project just need to be made

    http://www.swoam.org/LandTrust/CurrentProperties/CliffordWoods.aspx

    “SWOAM makes all of its properties open and available to the public. We ask that the public treat all of our properties with respect”

  7. now to educate people that during october and november to wear at least one article of orange while walking trails in the area .seems like so many people dont know enough to wear orange in the fall time .

  8. One day, a while after the Flint Woods were dedicated, I enjoyed my walk in them so much that I decided I would visit Jim Flint and tell him I appreciated his gift. I had met him a few years before when his wife was still alive and I cleeaned their carpet. He was a very gracious host. We visited for probably at least an hour. He talked about his love for nature and woods. He said that the connection with the Bonney Woods was through his wife's family and the Flint Woods were in her memory. He spoke of the need to connect with nature and the need for quiet places in our noisy world. And the need to do things for the future. He spoke lovingly of his daughter Linda, whom I never knew well, but remembered seeing on Titcomb ski slope when I was in high school. I felt honored and inspired by our visit. When I saw the news of his death I thought that I knew of no one who has done it better. Now when I visit the tiny pond in the woods and look at the plaque there in his memory, I feel quiet and inspired, and I thank the Flint family.

  9. Good question,,
    Can they hunt in these woods?
    Aren't they within the "city limits" so no hunting so close to houses??
    I would hope??!!!!

    Wear orange "anyways",,,just in case I s'pose.

    If hunters ALWAYS IDENTIFIED THEIR TARGETS,,
    No Worries,,,but they dont.

    Be Careful,,Especially if you look like a deer.

  10. Many thanks to Buzz Davis and Art Perry for initiating this project which is so beneficial to the community!

  11. We are so incredibly fortunate to live in such a wonderful community! These woods are incredible. The trails are beautifully groomed and well marked. Thank you to all who had a hand in this project and for making it a priority! This is just one of the many reasons why living in this community is such an incredible gift!

  12. I just hope the woods are respected and folks leave their trash at home.

  13. These trails are awesome and a testament to the difference people can make in their communities. Thnaks to Buzz et all for the community based efforts!

  14. The answer to a Good Question:
    Permitted uses are....
    Walking, hiking, running, mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing (not groomed).
    Hunting is not permitted.

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