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Building Bridges at Mast Landing Audubon Sanctuary

In the spring of 2024, I was tasked with taking a closer look at the existing trail networks that weave through all Maine Audubon sanctuaries. As with most trails throughout the northeast, I observed wet, rooty, and rocky conditions that are often indicative of a trail experiencing erosion at an accelerated rate. Fun fact: erosion is an inevitable earth process that occurs by way of wind, water, and other natural agents. On trails, increased rates of erosion are often unintentionally caused by human impact. Conservation-driven trail builders combat these rising rates by assessing the landscape and creating a plan of action that provides a quality experience for visitors, while also following best practices that protect the surrounding ecosystem.

Over time, several sections of trail at Mast Landing Audubon Sanctuary in Freeport have become muddy and washed out. As a result, the tread surface has expanded while hikers attempt to avoid getting wet feet. There were a few existing structures in place to help with this issue, but over the years and through different weather events, the structures had shifted or become submerged. This prompted Maine Audubon’s Properties Department to develop a plan that would create a more resilient walking surface for trail users that allows water to flow as it should. Maine Audubon staff and volunteers have spent the last two weeks constructing a 110-foot puncheon style footbridge that sticks true to best trail practices, while providing a more enjoyable experience for visitors.

Scroll through this slideshow of photos to see each step of the process!

This structure is nearing completion and will provide drier passage for many years to come. I would like to extend my gratitude to Seasonal Stewardship Assistant Anna Marden and the dedicated volunteers who have helped make this project a great success thus far. From material hauling to measuring and cutting, dirt digging to hardware installation, many individuals have been required to use their brains and muscles in the Maine summer heat for each step of this project. It takes a team to accomplish a project of this magnitude, and the results of having a solid crew speaks for itself!

If you’re interested in being a part of a project like this, please check out Maine Audubon’s volunteer opportunities at