Cooley Center Pond and McKay Farm Preserves, Phippsburg

Phippsburg Land Trust does it again, offering a huge, quiet, lovely tract of conserved land etched with many trails to make for long and varied walks. The perimeter trail (4.7 miles, marked with red blazes) is very pleasant as it borders Center Pond, in which you probably can probably swim, although I haven’t. The forested side of the perimeter trail goes through lovely pitch pine forests. There is a sweet beaver pond in the center of the parcel, too. The interior trails (mostly old logging roads) were a little less marked, or less reliably marked when I visited in the winter of 2016, than the perimeter one.

You can also walk to Elbow Hill and do a small loop. There are views through trees of the marsh.

In addition, the land trust has connected another 102-acre parcel to the south, the McKay Farm Preserve. As of the spring of 2021, there is a 2.4-mile loop (including the two small attached loops), which includes some short, steep scrambles and a long stretch by a large beaver pond. The land trust says it has plan for more trails and direct access (now you must walk about 1.5 miles or so through Center Pond.)

Directions: Take Rte. 209 (High St.) south from Bath, to Winnegance; continue on Rte. 209 (Main Rd.) south 4 miles to the Center Store. Turn left onto Parker Head Rd. and go .6 mile, crossing the Center Pond causeway, and up the hill to the Center Pond Preserve parking lot on the right.

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