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Source to Sea Trek includes paddles on the Androscoggin

YPLAA to host Paddle After Hours

The Androscoggin Land Trust (ALT) and the Androscoggin River Watershed Council (ARWC) are announcing four paddling trips for canoeists and kayakers over the next week, as the 16th Annual Source to Sea Trek makes its way into Lewiston-Auburn.

The events will feature discussions ranging from efforts to conserve working farms in Maine to a recently launched planning effort to link the new Androscoggin Riverlands State Park to downtown Lewiston-Auburn via land and water trails.

The Source to Sea Trek is a multi-week event that starts at the headwaters of the Androscoggin River and ends at Merrymeeting Bay.

Beginning on Friday, July 29, Maine Farmland Trust staffer Nina Young will provide a brief presentation, “Conserving Working Farms in Maine,” about the on-going efforts of that organization to protect working farms throughout Maine. The paddle during this day, from Twin Bridges/Googins Island in Leeds to Center Bridge Road in Turner, is fitting for this discussion given the recently conserved River Rise Farm trekkers will pass in the first couple of miles of this trip. The farm was conserved at the end of 2010 through a partnership with MFT and ALT.

Meet at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 29 at Googins Island, Leeds (Route 219). Bring your own lunch. The trip ends at Center Bridge Road, Turner.

The Saturday trip on July 30 will include the section of Gulf Island Pond, a term for the Androscoggin River in the impoundment north of the Gulf Island Dam. The Androscoggin Riverlands State Park and Recreation on Gulf Island Pond paddling trip will follow the shoreline of the newly designated Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, a property first conserved in the early 1990s by local conservationists that played a role in creating ALT. State Park staff will join the group to provide an overview of on-going efforts of this nearly 2,600-acre park.

Meet at 9 a.m. at Center Bridge Road, Turner. Bring your own lunch. Trip ends at Switzerland Road, Lewiston (off Route 202).

The third day of paddling, Sunday, July 31, includes a short round trip from the North River Road boat access in Auburn north to the ALT-owned David Rancourt River Preserve in Lewiston and back. This trip will be led by longtime ALT Board member Judy Marden and will include conversations about on-going land trail planning in Lewiston and a guided walk of the Rancourt Preserve before heading back downstream.

Meet at 9 a.m. on Sunday, July 31 at North River Road Boat Access, Auburn (off Route 4). Bring your own snacks. Trip ends back at North River Road Boat Access, Auburn.

And to wrap up the transition of the river events from the rural landscapes of Turner and Leeds to the heart of downtown Lewiston-Auburn, ALT and ARWC are teaming up with the Young Professionals of the Lewiston-Auburn Area (YPLAA) to host a Paddle After Hours on Thursday, August 4. The event is intended to be a convenient way for paddlers to get together after work, enjoy a short paddle around the historic millscapes and canals of the cities and end up with some refreshments and live music from Gritty McDuff’s on the riverfront in Auburn. Last year’s event, which drew more than 60 paddlers, had Main Street filled with kayak- and canoe-topped cars and trucks.

Meet at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 4. Start and end at Festival Plaza access point, Main Street, Downtown Auburn.

“It’s amazing how beautiful the river is leading up to and including Downtown Lewiston-Auburn,” said Jessie Perkins, Trek Coordinator for ARWC. “Friday’s stretch through Turner is incredibly rural; Saturday we paddle through Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, which is unspoiled despite being so close to one of Maine’s largest cities; and on Sunday, you won’t believe how peaceful the tree-lined banks of the river are between the North River Road boat launch in Auburn and the David Rancourt Preserve in Lewiston. Last year we even saw an eagle on that stretch.”

With the movement in Maine to protect and promote quality of place as an economic development strategy, these two days of paddling are expected to offer attendees a glimpse into this strategy in action through both working landscapes and conservation and downtown revitalization and walkable communities.

For those seeking more information, requests can be made to the Androscoggin Land Trust at 782-2302 or the Androscoggin River Watershed Council at 754-8158. Online registrations for the Trek are now available at

The Androscoggin Land Trust is a membership-supported land conservation organization dedicated to protecting, through land conservation and stewardship, the important natural areas, traditional landscapes and outdoor experience in the Androscoggin River watershed.  ALT currently conserves over 4,750 acres and more than 10 miles along the Androscoggin River.

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