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Trailhead

Coming from the interstate, take Exit 36 off I-95/Maine Turnpike to I-195. Take Exit 1 on I-195(the first exit after the tollbooth) and turn left onto Industrial Park Road. Follow to ME Route 112 and turn right onto ME Route 112 (Buxton Road). Continue on ME Route 112 for about two miles, and look for the parking lot for the Saco Heath Preserve on the right.

Description

The 1,223-acre Saco Heath Preserve is accessible by a mile long trail along a boardwalk and features a unique raised coalesced bog, which is the southernmost example of its type. The raised coalesced bog of Saco Heath formed when adjacent ponds filled with decaying plant matter called peat. With each year’s plant growth adding to the peat accumulation, the two peatlands eventually grew together above the water table to form this unique peatland type.

The preserve hosts a unique assemblage of plants that are adapted to thrive in its nutrient-poor soils. These include Labrador tea, leather-leaf, rhodora, cottongrass, sheep laurel and scattered pitch pine, Atlantic white cedar, black spruce, and tamarack. These plants grow on a mat of sphagnum moss. The woodland areas of the preserve include red maple, white pine, hemlock and black gum trees. This is the the only place where Atlantic white cedar grows on a northern raised bog.

The Atlantic white cedar at Saco Heath is one of the largest stands in Maine and supports one of only two populations of Hessel’s Hairstreak butterfly in Maine. The caterpillars of this species feed exclusively on Atlantic white cedar. The Heath is also home to deer, moose, snowshoe hare and a variety of other wildlife. The acidity of the heath keeps mosquito numbers low by making the abundant standing water inhospitable to mosquito larvae.

Other Information

Please adhere to the following policies while using the preserve:

  • Day use only
  • Foot traffic only
  • Please stay on the trail and boardwalk to protect this fragile ecosystem
  • No collecting of plants or animals
  • No pets
  • Carry out all litter
  • No fires, smoking, or camping

Trail Manager

Visit The Nature Conservancy online for more information or contact:

The Nature Conservancy, Southern Maine Field Office
572 Wire Road
Wells, ME 04090
Phone: (207) 251-2256
jbailey@tnc.org

Comments

Thegrumpycell June 01, 2014, 9:50 am EDT

I've been coming here since I moved up a year ago and the walk way was completely redone last summer. It's amazing how off a main street you can completely disappear into nature. The walk is easy, and it's surprisingly not buggy for a bog. I think it has to do with all the happily fed birds nearby. Right now the bog is completely in bloom, and everything is covered in purple flowers.

tonerspill May 15, 2014, 6:56 am EDT

I enjoyed my walk there yesterday, I hadn't been in a while. I'm still amazed at how quiet it gets when you reach the open area of the Heath.

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Nearby Geocaches

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Leave No Trace Principle

Plan Ahead and Prepare

Know your limits – it’s okay to turn back. Your home is the ultimate destination, not the summit.