2020 was a busy season for rediscovering hiking all over Maine and the newly completed Fly Rod Crosby Trail was no exception. There was a dramatic increase in trail use, volunteers and supporters.
The Trail was mostly completed in October 2019 but some finishing touches and ongoing maintenance were needed for 2020. Finishing touches involved creating a digital and print trail map from Phillips to Oquossoc. Thanks to Pete McKinley and The Wilderness Society, for
support with printing. New maps, for hikers, were placed at kiosks in Rangeley, Saddleback Mountain and Madrid. We restocked the maps in kiosks throughout summer and fall. Thanks to Bob Greene and Saddleback Mountain a new kiosk was constructed at the start of the Saddleback Spur trail.
A new loop trail, called Reeds Loop, was built in Madrid. This approximately l mile loop starts at the kiosk heads north on the original Fly Rod Crosby and descends from the ridge to the Orbeton Stream, where it follows an old woods road before climbing back up to the Madrid Kiosk. Thanks to all who helped design and build this loop, Ginni, Bud and Ben, and especially to our new maintainers, Anna, Elliot Emerson, Meghan, Will and Brody.
Trail work from Madrid to Rangeley was extensive this spring and summer. We appreciate everyone who showed up to help, despite hot muggy temperatures, bugs and rain. Thanks to many new and old volunteers and to Carl and Claudine, our new maintainers on a section in Madrid, and to Lloyd for maintenance on his remote section. We could not have cleaned up the remote middle section without Alyssa Andrews of Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust’s Conservation Corps volunteers as well as neighbors from Avon and Phillips who cleared over 100 “blow downs” on the trail, clipped branches and repainted trail markers.
Thanks to Ben, Bud and Doug who also painted and put up new trail markers. This season’s work days involved more than 40 volunteers and improved approximately 30 miles of trail.
The Children’s Work Day in July, designed specifically to offer experience to local young children (ages toddler to 10), was a first. Despite the rainy day, everyone had a good time and we hope to offer this to a wider audience next year.
Increased trail use was noticeable from the trail logs, continual depletion of maps and cars parked at trail heads.
At least three groups completed sectional through hikes in both directions from Strong to Oquossoc and vice versa. We received positive comments from them on the trail’s attractiveness to all hikers including different ages and abilities when done in section
s of approximately 7 miles per day. One set of through hikers ended their hike with a visit to the Our Lady of the Lakes Chapel in Oquossoc and, thanks to Father Anthony, were able to go inside and gain some insights into Fly Rod Crosby’s work with the Chapel.
Finally, thanks go to Brent West, intrepid Executive Director of the High Peaks Alliance for continued support with all of this activity and work. 2020 was a busy and productive season!