Hallowell Lyceum Outdoors: Join the Hallowell Conservation Commission & Kennebec Land Trust on a walk to Howard Hill through Hallowell’s Hidden Treasure
HALLOWELL — The public is invited to explore one of Hallowell’s hidden treasures on Wednesday April 29, 2015 from 5:30 – 7:00 PM.
Hikers will experience a little known part of Hallowell with some expert outdoor guidance from the Kennebec Land Trust and the Hallowell Conservation Commission, and learn about the conservation of the adjoining Howard Hill property. Meet at 5:30pm in the parking lot by the old Human Rights building at Stevens School. Take Coos Drive off Winthrop St into the Stevens School complex and follow to the end. In case of rain there will be a presentation on Howard Hill in the Hallowell City Hall Auditorium. This event is part of the Hallowell Cultural Committee’s Lyceum Series.
Howard Hill, Augusta, is the scenic forested backdrop to the Maine State House, and one of Augusta’s largest remaining undeveloped parcels of land. With support from Kennebec Land Trust (KLT) members, private foundations, Maine businesses, and the Land for Maine’s Future program, KLT and the City of Augusta plan to have this statewide landmark conserved by October of 2015.
The 164-acre Howard Hill property will provide recreational, wildlife, water quality, scenic, and forest-resource benefits for residents and visitors, and will serve as a permanent reminder of the enduring relationship between Maine’s people and the land.
Hallowell provides key access to the southern portion of the Howard Hill property through the north field of the Steven’s School property. The Steven’s School campus is owned by the state but is in transition to new ownership and use. As part of the planning for this transition, the Hallowell Conservation Commission is advocating for a conservation outcome for the Stevens School fields and woodlands that are contiguous with the Howard Hill property. The Augusta and Hallowell Conservation Commissions view the Howard Hill property as a unique opportunity to connect the two communities and protect one of the area’s last large blocks of open space remaining east of interstate I-95.
Given Howard Hill’s prominent location and visibility, these properties will serve to highlight important forest stewardship principles for both private landowners and public land managers. Equally as important, permanently conserving Howard Hill and the Stevens School fields and woods will provide public access to nature from many residential neighborhoods and the state office and business areas that surround the property in Augusta and Hallowell.
Managing the property as a community forest, demonstrating sustainable forest management;
Conducting management activities to enhance wildlife habitat on the property;
Developing a more formal system of trails with trailheads and parking areas;
Linking trails on the property to other established trail systems in Augusta such as the Kennebec River Rail-Trail and the Steven’s School property and utilizing the property as an outdoor classroom for area schools and organizations
The Howard Hill and Stevens School properties offer many future opportunities for year-round recreation including hiking, picnicking, cross country skiing, nature observation, and hunting according to City regulations. The popular Kennebec River Trail, a 6.5 mile rail trail, could be connected to Howard Hill through Capitol Park and the State House Complex.
A key management objective will be to enhance the existing trail network to include a range of trails for cross country running and skiing as well as more secluded trails for quiet walks, bird-watching, and observing nature. Safe trail access to historic overlooks that provide a view of the state Capitol and the Kennebec River will be identified and developed to allow ready access to Capitol area residents, visitors, and workers and staff from the surrounding community and state agency offices. The Kennebec Valley YMCA is located in close proximity to Howard Hill and has expressed strong interest in developing outdoor programs that utilize the recreational opportunities available on Howard Hill.
If you go:
Wednesday, April 29 (5:30pm)
Take Coos Drive off Winthrop St into the Stevens School complex in Hallowell and follow to the end.
For more information, Theresa Kerchner at the Kennebec Land Trust, [email protected], 207.377.2848