Goat Hill is one of the highest elevations in Acton, and offers stunning 360-degree views of nearby lakes and the Presidential Range and Mt. Washington to the west. Goat Hill’s 25-acres is owned by the town of Acton, and Three Rivers Land Trust has been engaged in a multi-year project to bring the trail to the scenic hilltop top to ADA compliance. Just over 1/2 a mile, the trail is open for foot traffic now, and you will find the parking area for the trail at 1205 H Road, about 1/8 mile north of the Romac Orchard entrance. Goat Hill and the Romac Orchard are part of the land trust’s 2,000-acre “Goat Hill to Shapleigh Pond” conservation project.
Why the effort to create an ADA compliant trail? Because people of all abilities should have access to our special places. Read below the Goat Hill drone video for one Acton resident’s comments.
Acton resident and wheelchair user, Nils, is thrilled about having an accessible trail nearby, especially after a trip out west where he visited many accessible trails with his family.
“The ADA describes “disability” as a person having physical limitations that markedly restricts their ability to function. In today’s nomenclature, “disability” is often mistakenly confused with “handicapped”. When a person with a “disability” encounters an obstacle in their environment that prevents them from doing something, they become “handicapped”.
Why the fuss over semantics? To live a full life when faced with significant, physical limitations you must focus on what abilities you have, not what is lost. Being able to add to the “Can Do” list empowers someone like me to get up and fight another day. For Three Rivers Land Trust to recognize the missed opportunities to enjoy the outdoors for those of us who are disabled, is commendable. The willingness to take on the construction of an ADA accessible trail is life-changing.”
I can’t wait to add “Goat Hill Trail” to my “Can Do” list. When my family & I get to the top perhaps Three Rivers will change the “Handicapped Parking” sign to “Enabled Parking”!
Goat Hill & Romac Orchard Timeline:
2020: A professional trail designer is set to be hired to bring the trail to ADA compliance. The town of Acton is set to receive another 50% matching grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, for $20,824. The land trust is applying for other grants to help meet the match amount, and is appealing to the community (donate now!) to help fill the final funding gap of a minimum of about $11,000, if our grant applications are successful. Three Rivers is also seeking out community partners experienced with ADA trail usage and design – we want to make sure that we are creating a trail that folks of all abilities are excited to use. Outdoors Again, a non-profit in Waterboro, has signed on.
Would you benefit from an ADA accessible trail to the beautiful summit of Goat Hill? Please get in touch with Executive Director Cheri Brunault (email@example.com, 207.358.9695) or Development Direction Ruth Gutman (firstname.lastname@example.org, 207.370.4191) to stay updated, and help us make this trail the best it can be!
2019: After lots of intense construction, the trail opens to foot traffic! There is still some work to do to reach ADA compliance. Due to the challenges of all the rock ledge along the trail, the land trust decides that a professional trail designer is needed to finish the trail. The town of Acton commits to applying for another Land and Water Conservation Fund grant and the land trust begins a final round of fundraising, receiving some significant donations at the end of the year toward the ADA trail, including a $13,000 grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund. Community members enjoy the trail and the views in every season!
2018: The next round of fundraising begins to help fund construction of the trail to the hilltop. Generous donors from the community continue their outpouring of support. A parking lot is created and a trail is roughed out with help from the Maine Conservation Corps and the MapleStone School.
2017: Together, the town of Acton, Maine Farmland Trust, 1772 Foundation, Maine Community Foundation, Land and Water Conservation Fund, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Great East Lake Improvement Association, Wilson Lake Association, Square Pond Improvement Association, and individual donors save Romac Orchard and Goat Hill! The forested slopes and summit of Goat Hill are now owned by Acton, and the orchard is purchased in two parts: Romac East becomes the new pick-your-own orchard, and Romac West is the newest orchard for hard cider-makers Far From the Tree, based in Massachusetts.
2016: A sale price is agreed upon. The land trust begins fundraising in earnest. Residents of the Town of Acton vote to commit $100,000 to the purchase of Goat Hill, in addition to applying to the Land and Water Conservation Fund for grant money to support the project, which will include construction of an ADA compliant trail to the summit.
2010: Conversations with Romac Orchard’s owner, Gordan Waterman, are underway. Both Gordon and the land trust want to figure out how to protect this beautiful property with its abundant apple trees and scenic hilltop from development so that it remains a meaningful part of our community.