Miles of trail: 4
Activities: Hiking, skiing, birding, fishing, accessible trail
Thanks to generous gifts from Charles Dana and Kay Gibson, the Land Trust owns and manages the Gibson Preserve. It is 165 wild acres on the Georges River in Searsmont.
The property supports spruce-fir forest, meadows, and fields and has over one mile of frontage on the Georges River. The forest here is relatively even-aged and is estimated to be about 50-60 years old. The large softwood stumps are evidence of past harvesting. A natural resources inventory found five amphibians, three reptiles, 59 birds, and 14 mammal species. The Gibson Preserve is managed for high quality wildlife habitat.
The Gibson Preserve is open to the public for day-use only; no hunting or overnight camping is allowed. The property has 4 miles of trails perfect for hiking and skiing, that provide great views of the upper Georges River.
Accessibility – A .4 mile accessible Wellness Walk trail leaves from the parking lot on Woodmans Mill Road and loops out along the river for some wonderful views and bench stops. Partially funded by AARP, it’s accessible for walkers, wheelchairs and strollers. The 3/8″ aggregate matrix surface is 5 feet wide, average running grade is 5%, maximum running grade is 8%, average cross slope is 2-3%, maximum cross slope is 5%, and has an average of 425 feet between rest areas.
Download a printable map.
Directions to the Property
The Gibson Preserve is bisected by the Georges River and there are trails on each side of the river. Currently, though, there is no simple way for visitors to get from one side of the river to the other. Rest assured, we are working on this from many different angles. Until then….
The north side of the property can be accessed from a parking lot off Route 173 (637 Woodmans Mill Road) in Searsmont. From the center of Searsmont (Fraternity Village Store), head west on Route 173. Travel 3 miles to the parking lot on the left (see map).
A 15-acre parcel of land hosts the south side access point to the Georges Highland Path at the end of Cedar Lane in Appleton. From the center of Searsmont (Fraternity Village Store), head west on Route 173 (Woodmans Mill Road). Travel 3.1 miles to West Appleton Road and turn left. Continue for 1.1 miles and turn left onto Cedar Lane (see map). Park at the end of the road and walk to the kiosk at the beginning of the trail. From here you can head southeast on the Ridge to River trail, or head north on the Frye Headwaters trail.
Maine by Foot | Gibson Preserve, Searsmont
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