Posted on January 11, 2021 and last updated on March 15, 2021

California Fields Wildlife Area, Hollis

QUICK TRAIL FACTS

  • Preserve Size: part of 2,700 acre easement
  • Trail Mileage: 2 miles in network
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Sights: pitch pine, fields

This unique area attracts a lot of dogs and their human walkers. The two easy loops among stubby, growing pines are bright and sun-filled on a clear day. The short loop is just about 1 mile. The bigger loop around the perimeter is a bit more than 1.5 miles, according to my GPS. The path is wide and flat, albeit not paved, and possibly could be wheelchair accessible.

Poland Spring owns the land here, along with thousands more acres at several sites in Maine. The company has an incentive to protect the watershed to ensure good water for its bottling operations.

So Poland Spring has been reforesting 2,700 acres in Hollis with pitch pine, white pine, and red pine. Reforestation is underway at this particular recreational area, too, which was once an airfield (in the 1940s) and a prosperous potato farm. A series of No Trespassing signs make clear where visitors can and can’t go on the land.

One of Poland Spring’s springs lies under a section of this area that’s nicknamed California Field because it was once said to be the only spot where one could grow good crops, as large as any that came out of California. The rest of the fields supposedly weren’t suitable for farming, except for spuds.

The trails on the California Fields recreational area connect to an ATV/snowmobile trail that runs just outside of the fenced-in area. You can walk under a gate at the far end of the area to join up with this multi-use trail.

Directions: From Plains Road, turn into a long dirt road next to Saco River Community Television, which is located at 564 Plains Road. You’ll come to a large parking area and a green sign for the trails at the end of the dirt road.

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Let me know if you have any trail updates or corrections!