Construction begins on new hiking trail network in Moosehead

Construction work has begun on two hiking trails that will eventually be part of an expanded network of non-motorized trails in the Moosehead Lake Region, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands announced in a recent press release. One trail leads to the top of Number Four Mountain; and the other, to the top of Eagle Rock, a breathtaking outlook on Big Moose Mountain.

(I’m so excited.)

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. A view from the top of Eagle Rock in Big Moose Township on June 9, 2013.

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. A view from the top of Eagle Rock in Big Moose Township on June 9, 2013.

The regional trail development is made possible through a 121-acre trail easement granted by Plum Creek. The company is also providing funding for the trail system as part of its regional land use agreement.

Construction on the trails, led by the Maine Conservation Corps, began in June, and will likely continue until 2018 in order to complete the entire trail network.

“Outdoor recreation is important to Maine residents and visitors,” said Gov. Paul LePage in the press release. “This public-private partnership will expand outdoor recreational opportunities in the Moosehead Lake Region. This project benefits from public input and volunteer support, so I encourage others to become involved.”

Additional trail system support will be sought by BPL and planning partners to help maintain the trail network. That support is anticipated to include stewardship approaches such as adopt-a-trail opportunities and other similar volunteer initiatives.

The decision to start construction with Number Four Mountain Trail and Eagle Rock Trail resulted from public input.

“We were pleased with the public’s input that this unique project has received,” said Walt Whitcomb, commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, in the press release. “Citizen input is helping create another gem in Maine’s outstanding system of trails and public recreational spaces. The partnership of a major landowner, townspeople and state recreation management experts is a formula for success in this beautiful region of Maine.”

Project leader Rex Turner said that project partners are looking forward to engaging new partners and volunteers for this effort.

“With these new trails, and others following in the next few years, the Moosehead Lake Region will offer a premiere trail network that will be a destination attracting hikers, bikers, skiers and others from far and wide,” said Turner, BPL outdoor recreation planner.

An ad-hoc committee led by BPL is coordinating the trail planning effort, and will hold its next informational meeting this fall. Participants and supporters in that effort include resident of the Moosehead Lake Region, as well as representatives from the Appalachian Mountain Club, Forest Society of Maine, Maine Huts and Trails, the Moosehead Lake Region Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Greenville and Plum Creek.

The Number Four Mountain Trail will be rebuilt this summer, and a parking area will be constructed at the trailhead. The trail will climb the mountain to reach the remains of the historic fire tower on the mountain’s summit. From there, the plan is to expand the trail south to Lily Bay Mountain and beyond. (The current Number Four Mountain Trail will remain open to hikers during construction.)

To see a “1-minute hike” video of the old trail, click here.

The 3.7-mile Eagle Rock Trail will be completed in August. It will lead from the Moore Bog area on the BPL’s Little Moose Public Land property to Big Moose Mountain’s northwest ridge, culminating at Eagle Rock. This trail will also feature a trailhead parking area.

To see a “1-minute hike” video of the old trail, click here.

The plan is to start trail construction on portions of Lily Bay Mountain and Baker Mountain in Frenchtown starting as early as this fall. Future trail projects on the 121-acre easement could range from easy walking paths to strenuous backpacking circuits and could accommodate hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, canoe and kayak portaging and wildlife watching.

Six-person trail crews from the Maine Conservation Corps will construct the trails. Volunteers are also encouraged to participate. For information about volunteer opportunities, call Mike Hein at 624-6092 or email

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at