The Highland Research Forest is a 400-acre preserve in Bridgton Maine and part of the headwaters for Highland Lake. The land was donated to LEA by the Hancock Family Foundation in 2016 and another 80 acres was added by the Hatch Family in 2018. Prior to any trails or groundwork, we worked with ecological consultant Dr. Rick Van de Poll to determine sensitive areas, areas of interest, and areas for further research. In 2018 and 2019 we laid out and installed trails, a small parking lot and a privy. We are now working with a local forester and Dr. Van de Poll to help set future goals and create a forest management plan for the parcel. Eventually the research forest will become a place that offers visitors a glimpse into sustainable harvesting, the importance of a forested watershed, and a space for long-term research projects related to woods, wildlife, soil and water.
In 2018-2019 we marked and cleared several trails across the preserve to access a large wetland and a trail to Highland Lake. With the help from grant funding and Dyer Excavation, we installed a parking lot and cement tank privy, and built an outhouse with volunteer Jim Kelley and trail intern Addie Casali. We hope you can visit the preserve soon and let us know what you think! We regularly hold walks and talks at the HRF and Holt Pond Preserve, so take a peek at our events schedule and come explore with us!