Blackstrap Hill Preserve
FLT - Public
Hiking, bicycling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, birding, snowmobiling, horseback riding, fishing, hunting.
The Blackstrap Hill Community Forest and Preserve lies east of the Blackstrap Road and west of the Maine Turnpike, between Mountain Road and Hurricane Road. It can be accessed from three different points:
From the south: a parking area is located on the east side of Blackstrap Road, 1/4 mile north of Mountain Road. A kiosk with a trail map is down the hill from the parking area.
From the north: an access road off Hurricane Road, just west of the Maine Turnpike bridge, leads to a parking area and information kiosk.
From the west: a trailhead is located just north of the intersection of Babbidge Road and Blackstrap Road. Park along the road near the trailhead. The property can also be accessed from the utility corridor just north of the intersection of Blackstrap Road and Mast Road.
Blackstrap Hill Community Forest and Preserve consists of two separate properties totaling nearly 600 acres, making it the largest block of contiguous protected open space in Falmouth. The southern portion is Falmouth Land Trust property and the northern end is town-owned. The property is almost entirely wooded, with the upper portion bisected by a utility corridor. The West Branch of the Piscataqua River runs along the northeastern edge of the property and several small streams, some within steep ravines, drain water from Blackstrap Ridge to the river. Several miles of trails are established on the property and provide a wide variety of recreational options.
Blackstrap Hill Community Forest and Preserve is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including deer, coyote, fisher, porcupines, beaver and many species of birds, reptiles and amphibians. A few very large white pine trees that escaped cutting can be found in the ravines and several waterfalls are present in the wet season. The river is particularly scenic.
Most of the town-owned land was acquired in 1995 as part of a comprehensive effort to preserve Wilshore Farm. The remainder of the property was acquired in 1999 by the Falmouth Land Trust. Both purchases were aided by Land for Maine Future grants. Historically, both properties were either woodlots or pasture. Water pipes found near the river are artifacts of the portable steam-power sawmills used on the site in the 1920s. The utility line was established in 1929.
Hiking, snowmobiling, mountain biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing, nature study, and horseback riding are all allowed. Motorized vehicles are prohibited, except snowmobiles on marked trails. Trails are not handicapped accessible.
Deer ticks are common; care must be taken to avoid Lyme disease. Water should be treated before drinking. This is also a popular hunting area, so use caution during hunting season.