Attendees of Kennebec Messalonskee Trails’ National Trails Day celebration Saturday gathered along the path to watch the Waterville Fire Department give a water rescue demonstration on the Messalonskee Stream. Kaitlyn Budion/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — A little overcast sky couldn’t stop central Mainers from joining in the celebrations of National Trails Day.

Nearby residents came out Saturday to the North Street Recreation Area to join Kennebec Messalonskee Trails for a variety of outdoor activities.

Kennebec Messalonskee Trails is a group dedicated to maintaining the trail system in Waterville, Winslow, Benton, Fairfield and Oakland, said president Scott McAdoo. The goal of the event, and National Trails Day generally, is to get people outside and enjoying the wide variety of trails the area has to offer.

“It just celebrates our trail systems and tries to get people out onto the trails, to be healthy and exercise; and you’ll see some of the natural wonders that we have,” McAdoo said.

The Waterville Fire Department gave a water rescue demonstration on Messalonskee Stream. Living Water Community Church of Oakland offered free lunch. There were also various booths and activities available, including a nature journal project with Maine Master Naturalist Serena Sanborn.

Kennebec Messalonskee Trails hosted a National Trail Day celebration Saturday at the North Street Recreation Area in Waterville. Kaitlyn Budion/Morning Sentinel

The mission of Maine Master Naturalists is to get people outside and immersed in nature and looking at their surroundings like a scientist, Sanborn said. For her, art and science have always gone together, so after completing the one-year intensive course to become a master naturalist, activities like this make perfect sense.


“One of the reasons I love the nature journal is because it trains you to observe carefully like a scientist,” Sanborn said. “And I think science and art are perfect together. So basically, they can create a nature journal and then take along the trail.”

Sanborn brought with her Saturday examples of her own nature journals, as well as small cards with drawings of local animals and fun facts about them, and recordings of bird songs.

Sanborn said anyone looking to get outside as the weather improves should check out their local trails. She recommended the trail off of the recreation area, which can be a good path for families because it is paved, fairly flat and has a story walk in place.

Peter Garrett, founder and access chair for Kennebec Messalonskee Trails, recalled the first time the group celebrated National Trail Day in 2000, back when there were far fewer trails in the area. The group gathered residents to walk from Head of Falls, along the railroad tracks next to the Kennebec River, all the way up to Mill Island Park in Fairfield.

Since then the group has used private and state funding to expand and maintain the trail system, and to offer maps to anyone looking to explore the area. There are even plans to release an updated map later this year.

“What’s wonderful is to hear from so many people who say, ‘I love your trails; I walk this one every day,’ or something like that,” Garrett said. “Just a simple statement, I just love it.”

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