Lookout for MCHT’s New Preserve in Brooksville

In March of 2018, Maine Coast Heritage Trust purchased for conservation a hill summit known as Lookout Rock in Brooksville. 

Since then, Regional Steward Caleb Jackson and others have been hard at work turning it into a preserve, free and open to the public. 

Creating better access to the preserve

“First off, we knew we had to improve access to the preserve,” says Caleb.

To accomplish that, Senior Project Manager Ciona Ulbrich worked with neighboring landowners, the town of Brooksville, and contractors to adjust the boundary of the preserve to accommodate a better-situated visitor parking lot.

With the parking lot successfully in, this spring Caleb got to work with MCHT seasonal stewardship staff (shout out to Zach Delorenzo, Rafael Matea, Mary Raikes, Jake Sattler, and Joe Garrison!) to improve the trail system.  

Beautiful and lasting: Caleb’s approach to trail design

Before picking up a pick mattock, Caleb spent time exploring the property in different seasons—“to figure out what to avoid and what to highlight, and where the water pools, sheds, and runs,” he says. 

A key feature of the land is a dramatic granite outcropping, covered in moss, lichen, and ferns. Caleb designed the trail to hug that outcropping, which meant, in some places, building with stone on stone.

“It’s technically tricky and takes more time on the front end to build a trail that way,” says Caleb. “But once you do, it requires much less maintenance over the years. We decided to make an investment up front. In the future, I’ll have to trim back the blueberry bushes—and that’s about it.”

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done,” says Caleb. “At the top, Lookout Rock offers this dramatic, sweeping view of Pen Bay. Now, it has a dramatic entrance to match.”

Lots to love about Lookout Rock

This preserve is just 17 acres, with a short (a little under half a mile) and fairly steep trail leading to the summit, with stunning views over Penobscot Bay to the Camden Hills, down to Vinalhaven and Isle au Haut. At one point you can see Walker Pond, the Deer Isle bridge in profile, and the Eggemoggin Reach. 

“At the beginning you’re in a wet, mossy forest, and in no time you’re into the uplands, where it’s drier, and you’ll find pitch pine, lichen, and blueberries,” says Caleb. “It’s a really special spot, and I’m excited to share it with more people.”

What’s next

Caleb has put the kiosk in place and temporary signs have been posted. In the coming weeks and months, he’ll be getting permanent signs up. 

Follow us on Facebook and sign up for email to stay up-to-date on MCHT news and to find out when Lookout Rock—with additional info about the preserve—is up online on our preserves page

Until then, here are directions from Caleb: From Route One Take Route 15 south through Blue Hill Center for 31.3 miles until you reach Herrick Road on your right-hand side. (If you have reached the Deer Isle Bridge you have gone too far.) Take Herrick road for 1.5 miles and the parking lot will be on your left. The parking lot is directly across from the Robin Hood Camp. 

We hope you get to visit this special spot soon! Thanks ahead of time for helping us care for it.