Pondicherry Park

Striking a middle ground: Arborist to inventory, evaluate Pondicherry Park trees

Everyone wants Pondicherry Park to be a safe place to enjoy a walk or run while experiencing nature’s beauty.

Mary Jewett, Lakes Environmental Association’s teacher/naturalist, and Heather Rorer, Loon Echo Land Trust conservation outreach manager, also want to keep the intown forest in a natural state.

So, finding a solution on how to address several hazardous trees along pathways, as well as off the beaten trails, was the question posed at a joint workshop last Wednesday.

Selectmen hosted the session, which included Pondicherry Park Stewardship Committee members (attending were Richard Bennett, Brian Cushing, Dan Edwards, Allen Erler and Jewett), foresters Shane Dugan and Jack Wadsworth and Loon Echo’s Heather Rorer.

To read the entire article: http://www.bridgton.com/striking-a-middle-ground-arborist-to-inventory-evaluate-pondicherry-park-trees/

Nature vs. logging? Safety concerns arise regarding hazardous trees in Pondicherry Park

Taking a casual or brisk walk through Pondicherry Park can be mind-clearing and invigorating.

The stillness of the forest is broken by a squirrel dashing through leaves and up a tree or water splashing as a beaver works on the bank of Stevens Brook.

The crackling of a rotted tree branch and its landing on the leaf-covered forest floor, however, is a concerning sound to Bridgton selectmen.

Hazardous trees, particularly those near park trails, pose a safety problem leaving a few selectmen “losing sleep at night.” While there is no disagreement that public safety is paramount, there is a differing in opinion as to how to address the issue at the 65-acre intown park.

Read the entire article here: http://www.bridgton.com/nature-vs-logging-safety-concerns-arise-regarding-hazardous-trees-in-pondicherry-park/

Stroll through Pondicherry Park for all?

Pondicherry Park is projected to draw 32,488 visits this year.

Yet, not everyone can enjoy a stroll through the intown 66-acre park because of their lack of full mobility — either due to being confined to a wheelchair or needing to use crutches.

Tom Perkins wants to create access for all.

Perkins, who is executive director of Loon Echo Land Trust, approached Bridgton selectmen Tuesday night regarding a proposal to upgrade 4,800 feet of forested trail, running alongside Stevens and Mill Brooks, enabling those with mobility issues a chance to enjoy the park.

Read the entire article here: http://www.bridgton.com/stroll-through-pondicherry-park-for-all/

Pondicherry Park: a dream come true

The excitement built as around 50 people — and a half dozen or so dogs — gathered on the Bob Dunning Memorial Bridge Tuesday, awaiting the ribbon-cutting to dedicate the official gifting of Pondicherry Park to the people of Bridgton.

Smiles were everywhere, and the speeches preceding the ribbon-cutting reflected a sense that Bridgton had accomplished something pretty special by creating a 66-acre nature park with guided trails smack dab in the middle of downtown.

The legal closing on the 66-acre park transfer occurred Wednesday, June 27, at 2 p.m. at the Bridgton Municipal Complex, when the property deed was granted from LELT to the town, and the conservation easement was reserved.

Six trails have been created within the 66-acre Pondicherry Park – the half-mile Snowshoe Hare trail loop is the only one that allows pets on leashes. The dog-walking trail can be accessed by trailheads at the Bob Dunning Memorial Bridge or across from Bridgton Hospital on South High Street.

To read the entire article: http://www.bridgton.com/pondicherry-park-a-dream-come-true/

Pondicherry Park management plan finalized

Pondicherry Park, the 66-acre natural jewel of downtown Bridgton, will become an official town park — complete with a dog loop trail — next Tuesday, if Bridgton selectmen agree to accept three documents governing the park’s ownership, management and stewardship.

The three documents were the result of carefully-crafted negotiations begun last fall between Loon Echo Land Trust, Lakes Environmental Association and the town, represented by Selectmen Bernie King, Doug Taft and Woody Woodward, with Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz serving as moderator. The negotiations were part of a condition under which voters agreed last November to take over ownership of the park, made possible by over $700,000 in donations from 710 donors through the purchase of separate parcels over six years.

To read the entire article: http://www.bridgton.com/pondicherry-park-management-plan-finalized/

Pondicherry Park concerns addressed

Last week, Bridgton selectmen Doug Taft and Earl Cash announced that they had received “some feedback” regarding the public’s concern about the cost of the town taking over Pondicherry Park.

Voters will likely be asked in November to approve the town taking over ownership of the 65-acre park that has trail systems and is home to the Bob Dunning Memorial Bridge.

The Pondicherry Park project has been overseen since 2006 and up to this point, by Loon Echo Land Trust, Lakes Environmental Association, as well as a volunteer Stewardship Committee.

To read the entire article: http://www.bridgton.com/pondicherry-park-concerns-addressed/

Dunning Bridge dedication

The Bob Dunning Memorial Bridge – the gateway to Pondicherry Park in Bridgton – is dedicated to a well-known craftsman who restored and enhanced many of the historic homes in the Lake Region.  Bob died of a heart attack on Nov. 23, 2007 at the age of 57. History was a fascination. Bob founded the Bridgton Historical Society’s annual Woodworkers’ Show and was vice president of the Rufus Porter Museum. He gave selflessly to his community as a volunteer firefighter, teacher and writer. At his memorial service, Bob was remembered for his kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity.  Read the entire Bridgton News article here: http://www.bridgton.com/dunning-bridge-dedication-2/

Pondicherry Park Hike

As a child, Jon Evans’ playground was the woods.

“I was born in the old hospital on Main Hill and have lived in Bridgton most of my life to this point,” he said. “I took for granted the lands — I hunted, fished and hiked on — would always be there.”

Two, he serves as the Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator for Loon Echo Land TrustWanting his own son, Maxwell, and other children to enjoy the marvelous woodlands he did, Evans has poured his energies and time into two major projects. One, he is a member of the Bridgton Recreation Advancement Group (BRAG), which is developing a sports complex off Portland Road.

“What I enjoy most about being Loon Echo’s Stewardship and Volunteer coordinator is giving folks of all ages an opportunity to see first hand what we have preserved for future generations, especially children,” he said. “When I tell kids that places like Bald Pate Mountain and Pondicherry Park are theirs to share with their children someday, I want them to feel ownership and pride in that. The natural resources we have chosen to protect for the benefit of the public and the many recreational opportunities Bridgton has to offer have a direct impact on the local economy. I am very proud of how Bridgton has balanced much needed growth with land conservation.”

Evans is “excited to see all the positive growth at a time when so many towns are in decline.”

One could sense Evans’ pride and sense of accomplishment as he guided a small group of hikers on a casual Veterans Day walk through Bridgton’s newest recreational gem — Pondicherry Park.

To read the entire article: http://www.bridgton.com/pondicherry-park-hike/

Bob Dunning Memorial Bridge Donations Sought

Bob Dunning (1950-2007) was a preservation craftsman known for his work restoring historic houses and barns and creating fine furniture and carvings. He was also a devoted environmentalist who fully engaged in local politics, always trying to bring disparate points of view together. He was an outstanding parent who cared deeply about passing on an appreciation of craftsmanship and nature to all children. In short, Bob Dunning was a bridge within the community . . . so it’s fitting that we build a bridge in our community to honor him.


The fundraising campaign for the Bridge is now closed, but more information on the History of both the bridge, its builder, and Bob Dunning and his legacy may be found here:


Lakes Region: A bridge to inspiration

In Bridgton, in the blazing heat last week, a determined crew of volunteers set the first timbers in place for the floor of the Bob Dunning Memorial Bridge. Andy Buck, a Naples timber framer and friend of the late Bob Dunning, spent the previous week at his shop mortising 16 of the 8-by-12 hemlock floor timbers.

Buck is a well known timber framer who’s staying busy despite the economic downturn. Since 1987, Buck has crafted homes and barns, and designed and built what would ultimately become the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield.  Read the rest of the article here: https://www.pressherald.com/2010/07/14/a-bridge-to-inspiration_2010-07-14/

Snippets: New trail planned for Pondicherry Park

An Eagle Scout is laying out a new 800-foot-long trail that will connect Stevens Brook Elementary School with the new Maine Lake Science Center.

Lakes Environmental Association Executive Director Peter Lowell shared that news as he received permission recently from Bridgton Selectmen to cross 300 feet of town-owned land in Pondicherry Park in creating the new trail. An education room will be part of the new science center, he said, so it’s important to have a trail with easy access leading directly to the school. The public will also be able to use the trail to visit a park information display at the science center.

Read the entire article here: http://www.bridgton.com/snippets-new-trail-planned-for-pondicherry-park/