Land trust offers Green Friday hike in Falmouth

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FALMOUTH — A guided hike through the Blackstrap Hill Preserve is being hosted the day after Thanksgiving in a bid to get people moving after a big holiday meal.

The Green Friday Hike is also designed to show people what the Falmouth Land Trust has to offer. It will take place at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 24.

The walk will consist of “a gentle hike for about an hour,” according to Rick Scala, who’ll be leading the hikers.

Viewed as an antidote to the shopping hysteria of Black Friday, the hike was piloted last year. Jennifer Grimm, executive director of the land trust, hopes it’s something that becomes a community tradition.

“We are just trying to see if it catches on and people like it,” she said this week. “I think there are some people who will welcome the chance to get outside and get some mental and physical exercise the day after the holiday feast.”

Grimm said the Green Friday Hike is a part of a series of guided hikes that the land trust has begun offering.

“We try to give each one a special theme,” she said. “We’ve held senior walks and a mental health day walk (and) we’ve teamed up with MaineHealth to do a pregnancy walk and a mindfulness walk in the spring.”

Grimm continued, “These free hikes are part of our service to the community (and also) allows the land trust to showcase the amazing open space properties that have been conserved here in Falmouth.” 

The guided hikes are also “a great way to strengthen our community by allowing people to make new friends and get to know new neighbors (and) it’s good for people (both) physically and mentally.”

Specifically, Grimm envisions the Green Friday Hike as a chance for family and friends to make special memories.

“This event seemed appropriate because it is a holiday weekend and people are together with family and may be looking for a free activity that is local,” she said.

It’s also “a great way to make memories over the holiday and connect to and be thankful for all the beauty and natural resources we have in our community.”

The Blackstrap Hill Preserve consists of 280 acres and has 2,000 feet of frontage on the West Branch of the Piscataqua River. It also includes an extensive trail network and is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including some old growth white pine.

Because the preserve is so large, Scala said the guided hike would only include some of the highlights, possibly including the waterfall trail or the trail along the river.

Scala, a longtime trustee for the land trust, said leading a hike like this one. “combines my love for the outdoors with my teaching background.”

“We hope to enjoy the outdoors and explore some of the open space in Falmouth” on the day of the hike (and) “if we see anything noteworthy, we’ll certainly try to educate people about the forest type or history of the property.”

“The Falmouth Land Trust is thankful for all the support it gets from the community and we are eager to give back as we are able,” Grimm added.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Youngsters get close to nature during the Falmouth Land Trust’s inaugural Green Friday Hike last fall. The trust is hosting another such event at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 24.