New KLT Trail Map!

KLT is excited to share that we have a new trail map! Hard copies will be available later this Fall and the map will be downloadable online.

This project was made possible with the generous support of the Davis Conservation Foundation and with GIS help from the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.

The KLT map was redesigned by Rachel Schumacher Designs. The new map contains a membership tear away flap to share the importance of membership and community conservation and encourage greater membership support; KLT is a small nonprofit, membership-powered organization and relies on the support of its members to help nature thrive and protect open space for all to explore. This new map is now pocket-sized, making it perfect to take on any adventure! The map also features KLT's newest preserves such as Oxbow Preserve and the Hope Woods Conservation Easement.

New KLT Trail Map 2020

KLT & Friends of Hope Cemetery & Woods Announce Partnership to Conserve Hope Woods

Hope Woods, October 28th, 2018. Photo by: Brooke Larrabee.

 The Kennebunk Land Trust (KLT)  has entered an exciting new collaboration with two local organizations, the Friends of Hope Woods and the Hope Cemetery Corporation. Hope Woods is located on Barnard Lane, just off of Rt. 1 in Kennebunk. The Cemetery owns 72 acres of undeveloped forest and open meadows situated directly behind the cemetery. KLT is partnering to conserve this land through a conservation easement. The 72 acres is comprised of a 2-mile network of trails and an abundance of wildlife; it provides a natural oasis of open space adjacent to Kennebunk’s bustling downtown area. It is an exceptional recreational area containing a constellation of giant cedars, copper beech trees, a large hemlock grove, and many towering pines.

Today, Hope Cemetery finds itself struggling to maintain the cemetery, placing the future of Hope Woods in question. Through this partnership, we hope to raise funds to create a permanent sanctuary of tranquility and natural beauty in the heart of downtown Kennebunk, where residents and visitors alike can seek peace and rejuvenate on lands linked to our past.

Harvest Festival 2018 marked the launch of the public phase of this campaign. KLT has pledged a gift of $50,000 with an opportunity for up to a $100,000 public match. We hope this gift inspires greater public support to conserve this green space located in the heart of our village! Check our  website’s calendar or follow us on social media to learn of upcoming guided walks of the preserve.



Kennebunk Land Trust Collaborates With Google, Offers Virtual Walks

Last Fall, The Kennebunk Land Trust (KLT) engaged in a unique project with Google that allows the public to virtually experience many of the Trust’s preserves. The Land Trust used the Google Street View Trekker, a wearable backpack with a camera system. The Trekker is worn and walked through pedestrian walkways or trails on foot, automatically gathering images as it goes. That imagery is then stitched together to create the 360-degree panoramas you see today in Google Maps. Staff and volunteers walked several of the Kennebunk Land Trust’s most visited preserves, using the camera to record the walks. Anyone from across the globe can now virtually experience these areas as a result of this collaboration with Google. The goal of this project is to enhance access to the natural environment and foster new connections with a broader audience. This virtual trail system will aid in ensuring that these preserves can be enjoyed by all, regardless of age, ability, or distance.

Land Trust sites that were trekked are listed below. Click on the link of each site to begin your own virtual walk. Though not a KLT preserve, Hope Woods was selected because of the Land Trust’s new partnership to protect the woods through a conservation easement. All of the walks were recorded in Autumn to highlight the beautiful Fall foliage.

The Kennebunk Land Trust, founded in 1972, has conserved over 3,400 acres throughout its history, including the Kennebunk Plains. KLT is a membership driven organization and relies on its dedicated members and volunteers to achieve its mission of permanently conserving and stewarding land for both natural and human communities. Visit or call 207-985-8734 to learn more.

List of Sites:

Hope Woods

Wonder Brook Preserve

Oxbow Preserve

Mousam River Wildlife Sanctuary

Secret Garden Preserve

Butler Preserve

Alewive Woods Preserve

Snow Stroll 2018

Kennebunk Land Trust Snow Stroll 2018 with Boulangerie, A Proper Bakery

On Saturday, February 10th, 2018, community members gathered at the Mousam River Wildlife Preserve for a guided naturalist walk led by KLT’s staff and leaders of the land trust’s stewardship committee.

The Mousam River Wildlife Sanctuary is a 38-acre preserve with over 2,400 feet of frontage along the Mousam River. The trails can be described as easy to moderate in terms of level of difficulty. This special walk was part of  Appalachian Mountain Club’s Great Maine Outdoor Weekend and Kennebunk’s Paint the Town Red month. After the walk, friends strolled over to Boulangerie, a Proper Bakery for a pastry and a hot drink!

KLT hosts bi-monthly naturalist walks that are free and open to the public. Because this was a special walk and small fundraiser, walkers were asked to contribute $10. We would like to thank all those who participated and Boulangerie for partnering with us on this event. If you’d like to learn more about upcoming events please visit the calendar of events section of our website!


Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, Fall 2017

October Naturalist Walk In Celebration Of Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, Fall 2017

The Kennebunk Land Trust hosted a walk with naturalists on October 1st at the Alewive Woods Preserve. The walk was part of the  2017 Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, which is a weekend hosted by Appalachian Mountain Club in which many environmental and conservation organizations join together to host outdoor events in their communities. 13 people joined in the Sunday morning walk on the trails; it was a casual event that provided folks the opportunity to get outside as well as share their interest of the surrounding flora and fauna. Check out our calendar of events to view other upcoming walks and programs.

Purple Martin Project at The Marx Preserve

Purple Martin Project At Marx Preserve

 Purple Martins are known as some of the  largest swallows in North America. Purple Martins are known to nest in colonies and are particular about selecting their home base. This makes establishing a new colony  difficult without proper consideration and further emphasizes the importance of fostering and sustaining current colonies.  However, the number of colonies in Southern Maine may increase as a result of a project that the  York County Audubon, Fish & Wildlife, and Kennebunk Land Trust established to install a gourd rack on the Trust’s Madelyn Marx Preserve. It is the group’s hope that the gourd rack will assist in establishing a colony in the area.

 Purple Martins commonly feed high above the ground on various types of insects. Historically, Martins were known to live in a tree’s natural cavity making the racks installed at the Marx Preserve a good possible nesting site.

If you are interested in viewing more photos of this project please visit the KLT Photo Gallery. If you would like to learn more about Purple Martins, The York County Audubon website is a fantastic resource.

Naturalist Walk at Clark Preserve


Kennebunk Land Trust will host a Naturalist Walk on Saturday, March 12, 2016 from 10:00am to 12 noon.  Are you interested in learning about birds, plants, ecology and other areas of natural history? Or, interested in sharing what you know? If so, join us! Kennebunk Land Trust will sponsor bi-monthly natural history walks in the Kennebunk/Arundel area. The March walk will begin on the Eastern Trail and arrive at Kennebunk Land Trust’s Clark Preserve (see directions below). The walk will focus on plants and animals in the late winter in a mixed conifer hardwood forest. If conditions are appropriate, we will spend time observing bird and mammal tracks in snow. The Clark Preserve, adjacent to the Eastern Trail, is a forested 90-acre tract that has over 2,000 feet of frontage along the Kennebunk River.

The naturalist walks will explore Kennebunk Land Trust preserves and other local hiking spots to encourage natural history discussions and education. Participants should come prepared for an outdoor excursion that is easy to moderate in pace. Please leave dogs at home. The walk will be facilitated by area Maine Master Naturalists Gordon Collins and Tony Liguori, and will encourage experts and amateurs to discuss and share their knowledge of natural history.

Advance registration is not necessary. To learn more and to find notices of location visit Kennebunk Land Trust’s Events page at

Kennebunk Land Trust was established in 1972. It works to permanently conserve land and to date has protected more than 3,400 acres that benefit the natural and human communities. For more information about the Land Trust please visit or call (207)985-8734.

Directions to the Eastern Trail and the Clark Preserve: From the intersection of Route 1 (Main Street) and Fletcher Street (Route 35) in Kennebunk, proceed west on Fletcher Street for 1.8 miles. After crossing I-95 bear right on Alewive Road and drive .9 miles. Turn right into the entrance for the Kennebunk Elementary School and proceed to the parking area near the entrance to the Eastern Trail on the right. (Lat: 43° 24’ 59” N; Lon: 70° 33’ 35” W).

Hope to see you there!

Walk with Naturalists – July 19, 2015

July 19, 2015.

Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area.

Fifteen people gathered at the north parking lot of the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area to spend two hours exploring this unique ecological site. It was a warm, humid day (80° F) with a brilliant blue sky and white puffy clouds.

Prior to leaving the parking lot, there was a general discussion of the historical background of the Kennebunk Plains. The area was formed 14,000 years ago as the glaciers receded. The glacial melt water formed alluvial deposits of sand (90’ deep in the area of the Plains) and became what is now termed sandplain grasslands. It is the rarest natural community in New England.

The Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area (KPWMA) is comprised of +/-1700 acres and is home to several unique and rare species: The Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constructor) (see picture below), The Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) (see picture below) and Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda).

Black Racer

Grasshopper Sparrow

The KPWMA is also home to a rare plant: The Northern Blazing Star (Liatris borealis) (see picture below). There are estimated to be a million stems on the Plains. In fact, most of the Northern Blazing Star in the world is located here. The group observed only a few plants with open blooms as this was just the beginning of the blooming season.

Northern Blazing Star

The walk started down the road to the west of the parking and headed north toward the rear of the Plains. Along the road several plant species were identified: the shrub, Meadow Sweet (Spiraea latifolia), Blue Toadflax (Linaria canadensis) and Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium). While looking at the Spreading Dogbane plant, the group observed several Dogbane Beetles (Chrysochus auratus) (see picture below) which are brilliantly iridescent. The group examined and identified several examples of Whorled Loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia), a small yellow wildflower. Several examples of Tiger Lily (Lilium tigrinum) were seen. (see picture below)

Dogbane Beetle

Tiger Lily

In the midst of the sandplain grassland the group had a general discussion about grasses, rushes and sedges and how they are generally differentiated. The group also talked about the preponderance of Gray Birch (Betula populifolia) as a succession species in the grassland.

We also learned to differentiate the three primary types of pines in the southern part of Maine; Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus), Red Pine (Pinus resinosa) and Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida). They are most easily differentiated by the number of needles in each bundle of needles: Eastern White Pine (5), Red Pine (2) and Pitch Pine (3). The group also discussed the maintenance of the grasslands through periodic controlled fire burns.

The walk continued to the small spring-fed pond formed by Cold Brook which eventually empties into the Mousam River. The pond in prior times was used to irrigate the commercial blueberry operation on the Kennebunk Plains. Along the path to the pond were seen Bracken (fern) (Pteridium aquilinum), Speckled Alder (Alnus incana ssp. rugosa), Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), Common Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) and Bear Oak (Quercus ilicifolia). Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia serotina) were also seen and identified along the path.

Upon reaching the pond, the group learned about the origin of Cold Brook and the pond which was man-made using a large earthen dam. Native Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) live in the pond and were rising to the surface. Two young men were fishing and caught several small trout. They released the fish back into the pond.

On the way back to the parking lot, the group saw an Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) and a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio canadensis) landing on a few of the open Northern Blazing Star flowers that had opened their blooms.

Just a few of the highlights of the walk–an interesting day in a unique natural area!

Walk with Naturalists – April 11, 2015

April 11, 2015.

Clark Preserve / Eastern Trail.

Saturday was beautiful day with clouds and a blue sky. The temperature was in the forties and the trail was still mostly snow-covered. The group consisted of four leaders and seven guests; some of whom were from out of state and had seen our announcements in the paper. Tom McClain, a KLT volunteer, took the picture which follows:

After initial introductions we hit the trail and started our discussions with description of the forest type found in the KLT Clark Preserve (mixed hardwood/conifer forest).

After initial introductions we hit the trail and started our discussions with description of the forest type found in the KLT Clark Preserve (mixed hardwood/conifer forest). Examples of various conifers were collected and described: Eastern White Pine (on the left in the picture below), Hemlock (middle of picture) and Balsam Fir (on the right).

The walk continued past an area that would become a vernal pool after snow and ice melt. The attributes of vernal pools were discussed; ephemeral, no fish and the presence of obligate species (indicators): Fairy Shrimp, Wood Frogs, Spotted Salamander, Blue Spotted Salamander, Jefferson Salamander, Marbled Salamander and Spadefoot Toad.

Once out on the Eastern Trail (which forms the eastern boundary of Clark Preserve) headed north, we stopped to observe several species of moss; hair club moss, tree club moss, sphagnum moss and Ulota crispa (Tree Cushion Moss – see picture below)

Cushion Moss

In areas where the snow had melted we were able to see Sheep Laurel, Partridge Berry (see photo) and Wintergreen – plants that basically remain green throughout the winter. We also identified highbush blueberry that was just beginning to bud.

Partridge Berry

Moving up the trail we came upon an area of the KLT Clark Preserve that borders on the Eastern Trail and resembles the early stages of a bog; sphagnum moss, grasses and wet peaty soil. Bogs are generally acidic and have black spruce growing on the margins.

We next spent some time talking about woody fungi that are present the year around compared to mushrooms that are seasonal. We looked at bracket fungi, birch polypore, turkey tail fungi (see picture) and violet tooth fungi.

Birch Polypore

Turkey Tail

We also observed and talked about lichens which are mutualistic plants consisting of a fungus and a green algae (sometimes a blue-green algae). Common Greenshield was the most prominent example we saw.

We also looked at a common liverwort that grows on hardwood – Frullania sp.(see photo)

Frullania sp.

Looking northward on the Eastern Trail we saw a flock of (17) wild turkeys crossing the trail and disappearing into the woods. We later studied the tracks made by them in the snow.

We walked as far as the Kennebunk River bridge. The river is the northern boundary of the Clark Preserve. As we turned around to retrace our steps, we observed a Ruffed Grouse crossing the trail. We next stopped along the trail to look at a pile of wood chips left by a Pileated Woodpecker as it worked the insect infested wood of an Eastern White Pine.

On the return portion of the walk we stopped and looked at an example of Black Knot on a Black Cherry twig. This is a disease which manifests itself as a noticeable black rough mass on small branches. It can be a serious problem on plum trees but generally does not kill cherry trees. The remainder of the walk to the parking lot was a review of some of the earlier tree identifications.

It was a nice day with a great group!