Trails everywhere I go
I seek out trails wherever I go. From our camp, as in “Upta Camp” on Little Sebago in Gray, ME, I can access extensive trails for hiking, biking and snowmobiling. A favorite just outside the heart of Gray is Libby Hill Forest. I thought the history interesting.
In 1764 Gray, then called “New Boston”, was settled. Daniel Libby, one of the original settlers, became a large land owner and prominent citizen. The high hill just west of the town center became known as “Libby Hill.”
The Hill family established farms in the area. Grandson, James, cleared the trees and created a farm at the top of Libby Hill in 1816. The farm was abandoned around the time of the Civil War.
There is lots of open land in Maine, so one more abandoned farm does not gather special notice – more pine trees and possible snowmobile trails.
Then, in 1973 a Libby descendent donated 70 acres of land on top of the ridge behind the Gray Middle and High Schools for use as park and recreational activities. We know the wheels of government tend to turn slowly, but in 1999 the Gray Parks and Recreation department decided to start an ad hoc committee to develop a public trail system on the property. By January 2000 some 2 dozen citizens of Gray picked up the ball, obtained a grant from the Maine Forest Service, and rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Along the way the Gray Community Endowment acquired an additional 46 acres.
Today the trail system offers 7 miles of well marked trails offering year round easy to moderate hiking, skiing, biking, running, and dog walking just outside the town center. The trails are wide and mostly shady. The footing is covered with pine needles. I cannot claim a favorite trail. You can experience a history lesson, or water fowl, or an aerobic climb – whatever you need on any given outing.
I say kudos to the Friends of Libby Hill for maintaining and continuing to develop this area for public recreation.
You can keep up with the calendar of activities and events at www.libbyhill.org.