New preserve and accessible River Trail at Round Top Farm

the ribbon cutting

Betsy Noyes (left), wife of the late Pete Noyes, and her son Tim Noyes (right) hold the ribbon while Allie and Finn Ferreira do the honors.

With a snip of the scissors and an enthusiastic round of applause, a new preserve on the banks of the Damariscotta River was dedicated in memory of longtime DRA mentor and supporter Pete Noyes this past Saturday.

Members of the Noyes family as well as DRA members and friends were among those gathered to celebrate the preserve and the construction of the new accessible trail across it.

The purchases of the Pete Noyes Preserve and another adjacent property to the south, made possible by donors to DRA’s recent capital campaign, effectively doubled the size of the existing Round Top Farm preserve in downtown Damariscotta.

This chain of publicly accessible lands along the upper Damariscotta River, crisscrossed with a network of trails, creates a permanently protected greenbelt within walking distance of downtown Newcastle and Damariscotta, the CLC YMCA, and Great Salt Bay Community School (GSB).

people walking on the new trail

Following the ribbon-cutting, guests take an impromptu walk along the new accessible River Trail.

The successful campaign also allowed for the creation of a gently-graded, 8-foot wide accessible trail crossing the Pete Noyes Preserve and connecting Round Top Farm to GSB, as well as the addition of a crosswalk and a section of sidewalk at the school.

Ideal for wheelchairs, strollers, bicycles, and those on foot, the new trail makes it possible for students to safely cross Business Route 1 to reach the shell middens, Damariscotta Farmers Market, and student gardens at Round Top Farm.

“What an exciting moment for DRA, Great Salt Bay School, and the community!” commented Executive Director Steven Hufnagel. “This trail has been more than twenty years in the making, and is the start of something even bigger – a link from downtown Damariscotta all the way to Great Salt Bay Farm on Belvedere Road. I look forward to seeing school children and people of all ages and abilities enjoying this trail every day, for years to come.”

While visitors are welcome on the new trail, it is not quite finished: the section crossing Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site has just received final approval from the state, and that portion of the trail is expected to be complete by mid-October. Due to construction at Round Top Farm, visitors should park at Whaleback Shell Midden parking lot.

map of the new preserve and trail

An updated map of Round Top Farm shows the two new preserves to the north and south of Round Top Farm, which double the size of the area now permanently protected and accessible to the public (blue bordered areas in the center of the map). The new accessible River Trail (blue) connects Round Top Farm to Great Salt Bay Community School.