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LA Trails to host day and night snowshoe adventures

Walk the historic Oak Hill Cemetery by morning and Simard-Payne (Railroad) Park under the full moon

LA Trails, the urban trails program of the Androscoggin Land Trust, will host two snowshoe excursions on Saturday, February 4, as part of continued efforts to raise awareness about the Androscoggin Greenway project in Lewiston-Auburn.

The first snowshoe hike will begin at the Walton School parking lot in New Auburn at 10 a.m. The trip will loop through the rolling hills and river views of the Oak Hill Cemetery, final resting place of some of Lewiston-Auburn’s most significant leaders, including Edward Little, and onto the adjacent Huston Farm Conservation Area.

An LA Trails leader will head up this hike and highlight the recreation plans of the Androscoggin Greenway, which seeks to connect this open space area to walkways along the Androscoggin and Little Androscoggin Rivers. Local historian Jim Sargent will join the trip and talk about the history of the cemetery.

The Huston Farm Conservation Area, located off Loring Avenue, includes 62 acres of privately owned land that was conserved in 1999 through a conservation easement held by the Androscoggin Land Trust.

In 2008, the land trust acquired an additional 25 acres abutting the farm property that will eventually be used to connect neighborhood recreational opportunities back to South Main Street.

As the day comes to a close, LA Trails will head downtown to join Museum LA at Simard-Payne (Railroad) Park for a full-moon snowshoe event scheduled to start at 6 p.m. In the shadows of the future of Museum LA on the banks of the Androscoggin River, families and outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to come take part in what was a significant tradition in the early 20th century: snowshoers converging on the Grand Trunk Depot.

Snowshoe clubs in Lewiston-Auburn were an important part of the local French-Canadian culture in the early 20th century. For more than a generation, snowshoers would arrive by train from Montreal and several Canadian towns along the way at the Grand Trunk Depot to take part in annual activities that featured snowshoe races, a parade displaying colorful uniforms, bands, choral performances and stunts. Local snowshoe clubs were active throughout the season, with competitions and social activities.

To celebrate this heritage and begin new traditions of snowshoeing, Museum L-A educator Joan Beal will be on hand to speak with small groups about the history of snowshoeing in Lewiston-Auburn. Museum L-A is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of work and community in Lewiston-Auburn and events such as this bring learning the history to life.

Simard-Payne (Railroad) Park sits at the center of an emerging recreational area in Downtown Lewiston-Auburn. While the summer months are full of canoeing, kayaking, fishing and walking, winter offers many opportunities to get outside and enjoy parks in the heart of the community.

In partnership with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, snowshoes will be available for youth and adults to try if they do not own their own pair. Also, Tim Horton’s has generously donated hot cocoa and snacks for those attending the full-moon event.

This program is free and open to the public. Please bring your own snowshoes if you have them and dress appropriately for the weather. For more information or to reserve snowshoes, contact Margi Huber, outreach coordinator at ALT, at 782-3202 or email at mhuber@androscogginlandtrust.org.

 

LA Trails, a program of ALT, advocates for trail development and stewardship and works to transform the quality of life in Lewiston and Auburn by helping to develop the most comprehensive, accessible, and well-used trail system in Maine. The Androscoggin Land Trust protects important natural areas, traditional landscapes, and outdoor experiences within the Androscoggin River watershed by promoting stewardship and supporting a network of public and privately held conservation land. We currently conserve nearly 4,850 acres of land, including over 10 miles of riverfront along the Androscoggin River.

 

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