Thursday, August 20, 2009

Falmouth Trails

Picture above: The Piscataqua River Trail (about 4/10 of our total trail run today)

The Town of Falmouth has big plans for Open Space and trails. Part of this plan is a trail/conservation corridor along the Piscataqua River from where it joins the Presumpscot River to Community Park and beyond. Bob Shafto, the Ombudsman for implementing the Town Open Space plan founded the Falmouth Conservation Corps to help build the trail. The FCC has been busy these past two summers and the the Piscataqua Trail is nearly complete - only two uncut sections and a bridge remain. The Piscataqua Trail also links to the Presumpscot River Trail, which is now part of a big "Sebago to the Sea" vision.

Anyhoo, the Piscataqua River Trail now makes it possible to do a tour de Falmouth (at least W. Falmouth), nearly all on trail. Unfortunately, from the Community Park trails to the Blackstrap Hill Preserve Trails, the connector is a snowmobile trail that crosses private parcels. While this trail is open in the winter, there has been no effort to keep this accessible year round.

I had been dreaming about this trail for the last 9 years and today we did it. We is me, Ian, Emma, Peter, and Mary. We started at the Blackstrap Hill preserve parking lot and ran counterclockwise (south) to River Point (the start/end of the Piscataqua Trail). Some of the snowmobile trail was heavily grown over with vegetation. Some of it was beautiful and very near another large, newly purchased Open Space parcel (can you say mo' trail, mo' trail mo trail?). The newly cut trail is beautiful in sections, rough but runnable in sections, and (like I said above), flagged but uncut in sections. And we had to cross the west branch of the Piscataqua the old fashioned way. After exiting the Piscataqua trail on River Point, we joined the Presumpscot River trail which the mountain bikers ride regularly. Tall and dense vegetation lines the trail for most of the length. The vegetation is about shoulder high and the path is about shoulder width! This could use a little manicure to make it more runnable.

So, I apologize to Ian, and Emma, and Peter, and Mary for all the little cuts on their limbs (mine are all the way up to my shoulders, of course) but I've really been salivating to run that route for years and only since yesterday (or maybe last week) has that become possible.

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