With almost 56,000 acres to explore, the Downeast Lakes Community Forest truly has something for everyone. These are just a few more examples of recreation opportunities to be had in the Downeast Lakes region.
The Downeast Lakes Geocache Challenge consists of 25 geocaches placed in different areas of the Downeast Lakes Community Forest, highlighting the local history, ecology, and geology of the Grand Lake Stream region. The challenge was created as a new and exciting way to introduce people to the recreational opportunities of the Downeast Lakes Community Forest and the Downeast Lakes Land Trust.
In order to complete the DLGC, participants must find all 25 geocaches and use the hole punch at each cache to mark the passport. Passports can be obtained at Downeast Lakes Land Trust’s office or by downloading a copy here – DLLT Geocache Passport. There is no time limit for completing the challenge and true adventurers will attempt these caches in all four seasons. Return to DLLT’s office in Grand Lake Stream with a completed passport to claim your prize! For a complete listing of all 25 geocaches, please visit www.geocaching.com. The geocaches will be listed by “dlltgeochallenge.” Please follow DLLT’s Geocaching Land Use Policy when exploring.
In addition to the DLGC, visitors can test their “analog” skills on DLLT’s Map and Compass course. This course was created to offer a self-guided, educational experience of an important wilderness skill. Compasses and directions are available to borrow at the DLLT office in Grand Lake Stream.
From birds to bobcats, moose to marten, the Downeast Lakes Community Forest is the perfect place to view wildlife. The American Bird Conservancy identifies the area as a Globally Important Bird Area with at least 180 species of birds, including 23 warblers, species associated with boreal forest (including black-backed woodpecker, boreal chickadee, gray jay, & spruce grouse), and neotropical migrants. Download a Bird Checklist. The Downeast Lakes Community Forest is also included on the Maine Birding Trail.
In addition to birding, there are many wildlife species that are exciting to see. Moose, bear, and deer can be found in the vast stretches of upland forest. Vernal pools and other wetlands provide breeding opportunities for amphibians – the calls of wood frogs and spring peepers define the season, and frogs and salamanders are an abundant and important part of the forest ecosystem. On the water, visitors are likely to see painted turtles and snapping turtles sunning on a rock or log. Stop by the DLLT office for a map of the community forest, and start exploring!
One of the finest ways to experience the peace and solitude of the community forest is by cross-country ski or snowshoe. There are no designated trails for skiing and snowshoeing, but many places will offer level ground and unbroken snow, perfect for making your own winter trail in the community forest. Dirt roads and snowmobile trails offer even more possibilities for winter exploration.
While there are no official horseback trails, horses are welcome on roads and multi-use trails in the Downeast Lakes Community Forest.
Mountain biking is becoming increasingly popular, and the gravel roads and motorized trails are a great way to see the community forest from two wheels. While mountain biking is not allowed on hiking trails, or off road in the ecological reserves, they are welcome everywhere else!