Boardwalk & Viewing Platform for an Atlantic White Cedar Swamp

Sanford-Springvale Mousam Way Land Trust (MWLT) owns property known as Great Works Environmental Reserve, adjacent to both Sand Pond and the North Berwick border in South Sanford.  It is open from dawn to dusk for people to visit.  From the sign and trailhead at the end of Great Works Drive, park your car and walk an easy 2/3 mile long foot path winding through a short section of a young spruce-pine forest, thence through a rare pitch pine-scrub oak forest. Before looping back to the path to the trailhead, the trail ends at an extremely rare natural community—an Atlantic White Cedar Swamp.

This wetland is an “Essential Habitat”, and a “Wetland of Special Significance” that is home to the Maine endangered Hessel’s Hairstreak butterfly. The land trust wants people to see both the Pitch Pine/Scrub Oak forest, and the rarely visited Atlantic White Cedar Swamp via the boardwalk. 

A site for the boardwalk was chosen for its direct link to an existing trail. Preliminary design, budget, and fund-raising were completed. All the required federal, state, and local agencies were notified, their input received, and permits acquired. An open area for the viewing platform was identified as being conducive for experiencing the wonder of the special wetland. Minimal site and soil disturbance were requirements for this work, so rather unique construction methods were used to accomplish this.  Geo Piles having the requirements of strength, durability, and adaptability to the project, and which are able to be driven into the soil with hand tools, are used to anchor the structure. Sub-system pre-fabrication and off site lumber cutting was maximized to minimize sawdust, and all material was carefully accounted for.  

Mousam Way Land Trust extends thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Maine Natural Areas Program, staff at the City of Sanford’s Planning and Codes offices, and especially the donors who made this project possible: The William Oscar Emery Fund, and the Members and Directors of MWLT.

Combined with the our other trails, this boardwalk will extend our mission for environmental awareness, education and outreach to the public, youth groups, and school classes to experience the unusual natural communities found in the Sanford area.  The Mousam Way Land Trust will  give interpretive tours from time to time.   Placards placed along the trail and at the platform will describe ecologically significant features of the two communities and their imperiled status.

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