Something exciting is rumbling down the tracks at Trout Brook Preserve. There are now two ways to enjoy the wooded hillsides of Trout Brook Preserve and surrounding Alna, by rail or by trail.
Since 2020, the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway has partnered with Midcoast Conservancy to offer Ride the Rails to Hike the Trails events. Passengers enjoy a scenic 30-minute train ride from Alna Station to Top of the Mountain, then continue down the tracks by foot to Trout Brook Preserve’s trails for a guided naturalist hike before catching the train back to the station.
Summer of 2021 brought exciting plans for WW&F Railway to extend the rail line through Trout Brook Preserve and build a station where the historic narrow gauge railway intersects Route 218.
“Next year we look forward to the opening of station facilities at Trout Brook and the additional programming opportunities that it will present for both organizations,” said Stephen Piwowarski, of WW&F Railway.
In order to prepare the preserve for an active rail line, WW&F Railway and Midcoast Conservancy have partnered again to re-route the existing trail off the track by building two new sections. Two joint workdays were successfully completed, and a third is slated for 1 p.m. at Tuesday, Oct. 26 at the Trout Brook parking lot.
Anyone interested in participating should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 389-5163
The final Ride the Rails to Hike the Trails event of the season will take place on Oct. 30. Passengers will ride the 11 a.m. train to the bridge at Trout Brook for a small opening ceremony before continuing on for the guided hike. Ticket information and purchase is available at wwfry.org or by calling 882-4193 to book a ticket on the train. Anyone wishing to skip the ride can hike in from the Trout Brook parking lot by following the newly rerouted trail to meet the train at 11:40 a.m.
This collaboration has yielded countless days of fun so far, and has helped both organizations offer new and creative events to the public.
“Throughout our work on the Mountain Extension and around Trout Brook Preserve everyone from Midcoast Conservancy has been wonderful to work with, especially on our joint work days and Ride the Rails to Hike the Trails events,” Piwowarski said. “We appreciate our collaborative efforts which have helped us better fulfill our respective missions, benefit our members, and engage our communities and the public at large. Now, we look forward to the opening of the new trails so that our visitors can enjoy the work we have undertaken together at Trout Brook Preserve.”