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Trails Bring You to the Coast

You’re on a trail winding through woods. You smell salt, hear gulls, see water sparkling through the trees and you pick up your pace.

As you near the water, a stone stairway appears. Rather than make your way to the beach you pause, look down, and think to yourself, Huh, I wonder what it took to haul all of these stones a mile and a half into the woods and arrange them just so I can walk safely and comfortably down to the water.

Just kidding—we know you don’t think like that. We’re glad you don’t.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust thinks about trails and stone staircases and how to keep your feet dry on a wet walk through the woods so that you don’t have to. When you’re in the woods, be in the woods!

But since you’re here now… we want to let you know what goes in to making the Maine coast more accessible to you.

First of all, it takes people. Eight full-time MCHT stewardship staff working from Lubec to Kittery, plus at least a dozen more seasonal staff, plus volunteers.

It takes chainsaws, pulleys, pickaxes, grip hoists, drills, hammers, clippers, loppers, levels, and more.

Chainsawing stairs

When building a trail on an island, it takes all of that plus boats.

The staircase pictured above was built on Big Babson Island Preserve. MCHT steward Caleb Jackson and crew:

  1. Boated over with tools and milled lumber for the stairs
  2. Felled two trees, debarked logs and hauled logs to the beach
  3. Decided on spot for staircase, cut into the hillside and set the logs
  4. Dug the trench, measured out the steps and carefully set them into place
  5. Backfilled the staircase with rocks and sand
  6. Built a retaining wall around the staircase by setting rocks into the hillside, covered them with soil, sand, mosses, and ground cover that will root and slow the erosion process

MCHT is all about connecting people to conserved land—and that means building and maintaining trails.

To date, MCHT has built more than 100 miles of trails on the Maine coast—that’s nearly half the amount of trail owned and managed by Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands!

Donations from people like you have made these trails—all free and open to the public—possible.

Saddleback couple touching

More trails means more moments like that ⬆︎ when trail building is the furthest thing from your mind.