Length: 1.5 miles
Donated to Pemaquid Watershed Association by Allison Bearce Allen in 1991, the Bearce Allen Preserve consists of 40 diverse forested acres with 3 trails that total just over 1 mile. It serves as a demonstration forest to showcase best practices in sustainable forestry.
The NORGAL Preserve is an unusual property in that it is privately owned by the Quail Run Homeowners’ Association, but Coastal Rivers holds a conservation easement which, unlike most easements, allows for public access. In 2004, Norman and Gale Hochgraf, the former owners, donated a public access easement to the DRA.
Managing organizations: Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust
The Bearce Allen property has a rich history. The area was used as a tannery from the 1820s to the 1890s. The red house to the left of the kiosk was the tannery office and is one of the oldest houses in Bristol, dating from the 1780s. The preserve was planted to a white pine tree farm during the 1940s, and these same pines now can be seen via the green and blue trails. In 1953, a forest fire swept through eastern parts of Bristol. The edge of this burn area can be seen at the point the yellow trail splits into the loop. The dominant vegetation type in the burned area is gray birch, and, in the non-burned area, red oak/Eastern white pine forest and red maple swamp.
The NORGAL property adjacent to the Bearce-Allen Preserve contains approximately 45 wooded acres. It contains wetlands and streams. The property remains in a substantially undisturbed wooded natural state, presumably second growth based on the numerous stone walls that crisscross the property.
The Bearce-Allen Trail is moderate in difficulty and is about one mile long. The easy Gale’s Trail loop into NORGAL Preserve adds a little less than 0.5 mile.
NOTE: The Bearce Allen preserve is open to hunting. During hunting season, visitors are encouraged to wear blaze orange for safety.
Directions to Trailhead:
From Damariscotta, take the Bristol Road 7.1 miles and turn left on to Sproul Hill Road. Travel 0.2 miles and turn right on to Austin Road. Preserve and trailhead are on the left, with small pullout for parking on the right.