Latest trail upgrade at Cape Elizabeth's Fort Williams Park ready for visitors

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The fourth stage of the 14-part Fort Williams Park arboretum project has been completed. 

The Cliff Walk Landscape, a multi-acre walking trail and scenic outlook, will be officially unveiled Saturday, July 14, during the Fort Williams Park Foundation’s eighth annual Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour. 

The foundation’s arboretum project is a multi-year mission to promote and preserve the park by removing invasive species, planting and preserving native plant species, and renovating key aspects of the park.

According to a news release from the foundation, the Cliff Walk Landscape, which overlooks the ocean and has views of Portland Head Light, was restored to ecological health by suppressing invasive plants to a level that allows healthy and vibrant native plant communities to succeed.

This, in turn, will hopefully improve the habitat for other species, such as birds and insects. 

The trail, constructed by OBP Trailworks, begins at the top of the wooden steps that lead from the lighthouse vendor plaza to Battery Knoll, and ends with a new set of stone steps that lead from Battery Knoll back down to the Cliff Walk at the south end of Cliffside.

The trail winds through densely vegetated and rugged terrain and connects three overlooks: DeHart Overlook, Sullivan Overlook Picnic Area, and Oak Dell.

In 2015, landscape architect Regina Leonard developed a management plan to guide the transformation of this landscape, including the gradual removal of invasive plants, on which the success of the Cliff Walk Landscape depends.

The Town Council on July 9 granted the foundation permission to continue fundraising for Cliff Walk work, which will entail ongoing invasive plant control, installation of two interpretive signs along the trail and, eventually, plant labels. 

On Saturday, the Garden Tour will run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Participants will register near the Children’s Garden, where they’ll be provided with a booklet containing a map and detailed information about each garden.

Tickets cost $30 in advance and $40 the day of the tour and can be purchased online at, at the foundation’s office at 299 Ocean House Road or at the Community Center and Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth, and Nonesuch Books and Broadway Gardens in South Portland. 

All proceeds from the Garden Tour will benefit the Fort Williams Park Foundation.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

The Fort Williams Park Foundation will host an official unveiling of the completed Cliff Walk Landscape, a multi-acre walking trail and scenic outlook, on Saturday, July 14, during the eighth annual Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour.