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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Posted: December 17, 2018

Hiking in Maine: Pick up the guide and explore Bangor area

Written by: Carey Kish

As a youngster growing up in Bangor, my pals and I were free-range kids, wandering far and wide over the region at every opportunity, much to the chagrin of our parents. We excitedly explored every trail and patch of woods we could find in the spirit of great adventure.

All these years later, a lot of those old familiar paths and many more new ones now belong to a very impressive, wonderfully extensive formal trail system that’s wide open for public enjoyment.

The brand new, full-color “Bangor Area Trails Map & Guide” captures this treasure trove of hiking and walking possibilities, plus biking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities in Bangor, Brewer, Veazie, Orono and Old Town. From the Kenduskeag Stream to Pushaw Pond and Pushaw Stream to the Penobscot River, the map depicts a whopping 135 miles of trails across 37 parks and preserves.

The “Bangor Area Trails Map & Guide” was produced by Bangor Greendrinks, an environmental nonprofit whose mission is to “cultivate sustainability and community in the Greater Bangor Region, one pint at a time.” On a beautiful Tuesday evening last May, having heard about the launch of the new trail map, I dropped in to Mason’s Brewing in Brewer for the monthly gathering of Bangor Greendrinks to see what the hubbub was about.

Amongst all the fun socializing and good beer and delicious pizza, I grabbed a copy of the trails map and connected with Greg Edwards, a board member of both Bangor Greendrinks and the Bangor Land Trust, who explained how the project came to fruition.

“There were all these trails, not only in Bangor but around the entire region, plus all the digital trail data to match, but no one map showed everything together,” said Edwards. “We recognized this glaring need and decided to bring it all together into a single recreation map.”

Using the technical expertise of the Community Center for GIS – the fantastic mapping and geographic information folks behind the popular Maine Trail Finder – the data from 14 Bangor area land managers and trail maintainers was compiled into a graphically pleasing and highly useful trail guide.

Bangor Greendrinks funded the map’s production through a $5,000 Green Grant, while the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and Heart of Penobscot chipped in $2,500 for the printing, which allowed the map to be distributed free. This was the single largest Green Grant in the eight-year history of Bangor Greendrinks, which has raised $36,000 for such awards through their monthly get-togethers.

With my new map in hand, I made a half dozen trips to the Bangor area this summer and fall to walk a few of my old haunts and check out lots of new places. There’s quite a variety, so I highly recommend a visit. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Tackle the Kenduskeag Stream Trail through the scenic heart of downtown Bangor, or the lovely Stillwater River Trail from downtown Orono nearly to the Stillwater Dam; both are 4 miles round trip. Or try Indian Trail Park in Brewer, a shorter walk along the Penobscot River to the Bangor Salmon Pool near the remains of the old Veazie Dam at Treat’s Falls.

Nine miles of pleasant trails wend through the 686-acre Bangor City Forest. Follow the East-West Loop Trail counterclockwise from the Tripp Road trailhead for a nice 5-mile circuit (the Orono Bog Boardwalk is an amazing 1-mile side trip, but it’s closed until April 30).

The Caribou Bog Conservation Area is home to its expansive namesake wetland, plus the wooded bumps of Newman Hill and Bangor Hill, and a fantastic 17-mile network of trails that’ll keep you busy exploring for an entire day and then some.

Snowshoeing is a great way to travel the Bangor area trails (a handful even have groomed cross-country skiing), or you can put them on your to-do list for next spring.

Download a PDF version of the “Bangor Area Trails Map & Guide” at bangorgreendrinks.org, pick up a paper copy at EPIC Sports and other select locations around the Bangor area, or get one at a Bangor Greendrinks event the second Tuesday of each month.

 

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