Author Topic: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread  (Read 3789 times)

Wayne Laepple

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Right now, we could be encouraging visitors who are interested to leave the train at Top of the Mountain and walk any of several trails in the area, then take a later train back to Sheepscot. The Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association has built trails, including one that touches the west side of our land at Top of the Mountain. Or a trail around the property could be developed, perhaps by a local youth seeking the Eagle Scout award.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 11:58:47 AM by Ed Lecuyer »

Joe Fox

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Wayne, I have often thought about having guided walking tours down the mountain between trips, explaining what the plans are, history, etc. However volunteer power tends to be skimpy many days.

John Kokas

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I wonder if a "feeling out" of the Conservation folks could draw some interest in providing volunteer guides on designated days - once or twice a month (and advertise it on facebook)

Bob Holmes

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Knowing the energy of the conservation/land preservation folks, I would think this would be a natural alliance, one that would be easy to make, and one we should explore right away.  Hikers will love it!

For example, I can easily see a marked trailhead at TOM where that trail abuts our property.  And we work with them on a joint map.

Are there any other nearby trails that are adjacent to our ROW (including all the way to Head Tide)?

Bob

Jason M Lamontagne

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I've only followed this thread on the periphery- but I want to point out that we have approached the conservation association about just such an alliance several times.  There was agreement in concept- but technical barriers.  The first is that their land doesn't abut ours at ToM- it only touches corner to corner.  For them, that corner is at the far reaches of their property, and their trail network doesn't come anywhere near our ToM property.  Then there's the additional detail that there is no trail network on our property. 

Both parties agreed in the potential mutual benefit- but had to acknowledge the tremendous volunteer effort it would take to build and maintain said trails.  Neither group currently has those volunteer resources.  So the entire idea got tabled, with hopes to revisit it.

Since then, the SVCA has merged into a larger group, with administration consolidated out of town.  We still have some contacts, but not nearly what we previously had.

So- there are viable ideas on the table- but execution is not as easy as it may appear.

See ya
Jason

Ed Lecuyer

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[I should probably split this topic.]

The current assessor's maps indicate that SVCA (or whoever they are now) do own the parcel to the west of the WW&F TOM property. It is a separate parcel, so it may have been acquired relatively recently.
Ed Lecuyer
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Wayne Laepple

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I believe we already have the skeleton of a trail system at Top of The Mountain. The road down to the Porcupine Palace is one leg, and there is an overgrown road on the south side of the property that drops down the hill to Trout Brook. I've not bushwhacked between them, so I don't know how difficult it would be to connect the two to make a loop. However, perhaps where the road reaches the stream, we could build a footbridge to connect to the SVCA land across the stream and to their trail system.

James Patten

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Mike and I bushwacked two winters ago down the old overgrown road to the stream.  Basically it's in a deep valley, and seemed to dead end.  The Palace sits on the top of the bluff, with almost no way on our land to get down to the water easily.  I walked the northern property line and it drops off very suddenly. 

Mike has found one of our corners, on the other side of the stream. 

Jason M Lamontagne

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I'll admit the last time I looked at the issue was probably 6 years ago, and the SVCA acquiring that piece rings a vague bell.  I suspect they haven't developed the piece much since they've gone through this merger in the interim, but perhaps they intend to.  I don't know. 

Fair point on the idea that we have the start of a trail system.  It would probably take some doing to extend it to our West line, but its got to be doable on some level. 

I'd like to see a x-country ski trail network out there as well, and offer a ski train service, someday. 

Now is the time to bounce ideas around.  Time will allow them to congeal, or get narrowed down as appropriate.

see ya
Jason

John McNamara

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I'd like to see a x-country ski trail network out there as well, and offer a ski train service, someday. 

The new wide entrance door of coach 8 will make boarding and de-boarding with cross-country skis fairly easy. Add the traditional A-frame ski stand, and we're ready to go.
-John M

Bill Baskerville

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I believe we already have the skeleton of a trail system at Top of The Mountain. The road down to the Porcupine Palace is one leg, and there is an overgrown road on the south side of the property that drops down the hill to Trout Brook. I've not bushwhacked between them, so I don't know how difficult it would be to connect the two to make a loop. However, perhaps where the road reaches the stream, we could build a footbridge to connect to the SVCA land across the stream and to their trail system.

Wayne,

If memory serves me correctly, just East of the Porcupine Palace road there is an old road that cuts off at a diagonal to the South East and connects to the road that slabs down the embankment to Trout Brook, perhaps near the Southern property line, but I don't know where that line is.  I didn't cross the stream, but would suspect that at some time that road was a ford across the stream and it continued West on the other side.

Bill

Stephen Piwowarski

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When I was in touch with a SVCA representative several years ago they informed me that it was the SVCA's intention, at that time, to keep the development of the Trout Brook Preserve to the West side of Trout Brook. The East side would stay wild. I suppose there is also exploration that could be done into a trail system. As Wayne said- a very appropriate Eagle Scout project, Hornaday Award, or Gold Award project.

A technical issue with X/C ski trails is that many use a crude form of mechanized grooming- basically a roller which compacts the snow and puts 4 deep tracks into the snow for a 2-way trail. We might be better equipped to handle snowshoers than skiers, especially with the acreage at ToM. It's a short distance for skiing, but a decent length for some snowshoeing.

One of the "big ideas" in trail planning is to look at erosion issues and look at constructing trails which limit erosion problems. Another idea is timing- we can look at our service interval and plan trails which will, for the average visitor, consume about 75% of the time between trains. This gives visitors time for detraining, a short break, and being a bit early. Perhaps a nice idea to provide 2 loops- a short loop and a longer loop, share parts.

Here is a hiking time calculator that can help establish trail length/times http://www.douglastwitchell.com/hikingcalculator.php.

Steve

Mike Fox

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I believe we already have the skeleton of a trail system at Top of The Mountain. The road down to the Porcupine Palace is one leg, and there is an overgrown road on the south side of the property that drops down the hill to Trout Brook. I've not bushwhacked between them, so I don't know how difficult it would be to connect the two to make a loop. However, perhaps where the road reaches the stream, we could build a footbridge to connect to the SVCA land across the stream and to their trail system.

Wayne,

If memory serves me correctly, just East of the Porcupine Palace road there is an old road that cuts off at a diagonal to the South East and connects to the road that slabs down the embankment to Trout Brook, perhaps near the Southern property line, but I don't know where that line is.  I didn't cross the stream, but would suspect that at some time that road was a ford across the stream and it continued West on the other side.

Bill

The road down over the bank is about halfway between stump row and porcupine pallace. It is overgrown, and will probably stay that way.  Anything within the Alna Shore Land Zoning district will be left untouched, unless we carefully plan things out, and see what would be needed to have a trail system close to the brook. We don't want to do anything in the area that will cause any type of erosion.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 10:42:00 AM by Mike Fox »
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Bob Holmes

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From the web:

Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association updated: July 2016
On January 1, 2016 the Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association merged with Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association, Hidden Valley Nature Center and Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance to become Midcoast Conservancy.

Bob Holmes

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Midcoast Conservancy is headquartered at 36 Water St in Wiscasset.

It appears to be a much larger organization than before with several full-time staff.  Maybe they have expanded resources now as well...

Their Trout Brook Preserve has a trail that appears to be located in part on our ROW (just beyond the Trout Brook crossing).  The preserve map has a paragraph on the WW&F.

Their web site:

https://www.midcoastconservancy.org/