Difficulty: Easy. Take a few hours to explore the many short trails in the sanctuary. The terrain is mostly flat and without tricky footing.
How to get there: From Route 1A in Holden, turn onto Copeland Hill Road. If driving east towards Ellsworth, the turn will be on your right near the Myerowitz Chiropractic & Acupuncture Clinic, which has a yin-yang on its sign. Drive until you reach a stop sign. Turn right on Wiswell Road. You’ll pass Copeland Hill Cemetery. In a little less than a mile, turn left onto Fields Pond Road. Drive about 1 mile. Fields Pond Audubon Center will be on your left. Pick up a map of the trails in the center or from the wooden cubby on the right side of the nature trails kiosk.
Information: Fields Pond Audubon Center is a 192-acre wildlife sanctuary with trails winding through field, wetland and forest, and along the shore of the 85-acre Fields Pond. The property is open free of charge every day from dawn to dusk. Their modern visitor center, the L. Robert Rolde Nature Center, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and is closed on Sundays. Monday-Wednesday it is open for groups by appointment. At the visitor center, people can view taxidermy displays and wildlife artwork, and also purchase a birding book from their Maine Audubon Nature Store. The center offers dozens of year-round public programs and day camps for children and is a great place for independent nature study, wildlife watching, walking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. For information and a trail map, visit www.maineaudubon.org or call 989-2591.
Personal note: All of the trails were extremely icy on Feb. 3, 2012. I would not hike the trails without ice cleats or snowshoes with metal traction spikes.
The staff and volunteers at Fields Pond Audubon Center plan to start working on blazing a trail from the end of the Lakeshore Trail to the far end of the Ravine Trail loop during the spring of 2012, according to Fields Pond Audubon Center Director Matt Dubel. Expanding the trail network will allow visitors to spend more time exploring the various habitats included in the sanctuary.