Whether afoot, on skis, or astride a bike, there are lots of ways to get around AMC’s nearly 75,000 acres of Maine Woods Initiative (MWI) property in the 100-Mile Wilderness region—and lots of trails to get around on.
At last count, AMC’s growing network of recreational trails covered 130 miles, including 90 miles of groomed ski trails, 80 miles of mountain bike trails (some sharing a route with ski trails), and 20 miles of hiking and snowshoeing trails. All of AMC’s trails are open for public use, and some new segments tie in with existing paths, providing better access to even more beautiful places and connecting AMC’s land to local communities.
Cross-country skiers seeking overnight excursions can follow the trails between AMC’s three Maine Wilderness Lodges—Gorman Chairback, Little Lyford, and the new Medawisla—as well as the family-owned West Branch Pond Camps with which AMC partners.
For Steve Tatko, AMC’s MWI land manager, this work is about linking the past to the present. “[The trail] network is rooted in history,” he says. “Many of AMC’s ski trails follow old logging tote roads dating back to the 1840s. This is one of the few major trail networks designed to purposely merge recreation with ecological forest management.”
Looking forward, AMC will continue to manage and conserve forestland and provide access to recreational opportunities in Maine. “The aim is to provide a high-quality trail experience in the midst of a working forest,” Tatko says. “Our trails travel through river corridors, over some of the tallest mountains in the region, and through a huge variety of forest types.”
Plans call for a trail network of up to 160 miles in the coming years, including additional single-track mountain bike trails. AMC opened eight miles of single-track near Medawisla Lodge and Cabins recently. Trail work also includes improving, or hardening, ski trails to make them suitable for mountain bikes in summer and fall and to ease snow-grooming efforts in winter.
AMC’s Maine-based professional trail crew, Maine Chapter members and other volunteers, and local partners all have performed significant work on these trails over the years. In a related effort, AMC has partnered with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the Maine Conservation Corps, and the Moosehead Trails organization to build new trails outside of AMC’s property on Weyerhauser land that connect to existing AMC trails.