Tucked well below the elevation of Mill Street in New Auburn, the Barker Mill Trail was out of sight and out of mind, falling into years of neglect and becoming overgrown and impassable. Now, after a significant volunteer training day by the Maine Army National Guard, the Androscoggin Land Trust (ALT) and the United New Auburn Association are announcing a community work day to prepare this trail along the Little Androscoggin River for regular use.
The trailhead is just off the gate house for the Lower Barker Dam, one of two dams on the Little Androscoggin River that served to power the Barker Mill in its early days of textile production. The Barker Mill Trail follows the Little Androscoggin for a little over a mile before it rejoins Mill Street.
The relatively flat walking path offers great spots for nature observation and good views of the former Lewiston-Auburn Railroad line, which hugs the opposite shore.
“We are thankful to the Maine Army National Guard for choosing this neighborhood trail for its training day two weekends ago,” said Jonathan LaBonte, executive director of ALT. “Not only did it meet the needs of the Guard, but made it possible to re-open this trail at little cost to the community. The next step is to invite the neighborhood and members of the public to help us complete the work of preparing this trail, including putting up blazes to mark the route, laying down woodchips and picking up any trash or debris that may have been left over the years.”
The recently adopted New Auburn Master Plan called for a greenway belt to be completed in New Auburn that would link the Little Androscoggin and Androscoggin Rivers. This project represents a first step in advancing that project.
All those wishing to volunteer are encouraged to meet at 9 a.m. this Saturday, August 27, at the Barker Mill Trailhead on Mill Street. Work is expected to continue until noon, when refreshments will be served.
For those with questions or looking for more information, call ALT at 782-2302 or see www.androscogginlandtrust.org.