North Yarmouth snowshoes into parks celebration series

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The town’s Once in a Blue Moon Full Moon Snowshoe event may be named for a rare occurrence, but it’s intended to serve as the kick-off for a series of activities that celebrate town parks.

Sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Committee, the snowshoe party will be held at Old Town House Park on Memorial Highway (Route 9) from 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31. Residents of all ages are invited to bring their own equipment to participate, or just bring themselves in order to mingle with their neighbors and watch their children play in the snow.

S’mores and hot chocolate will keep people warm by a campfire.

The idea of the party came out of a gathering last spring of several town panels, where it was noted the parks could be put to better use as community gathering places, Parks and Recreation Committee member Anne Lang said in an interview Monday.

“While it’s nice to be talking about invasive Japanese knotweed and everything, the point is to get people out into the parks,” Lang said with a chuckle.

A successful kite festival hosted by Living Well in North Yarmouth at Old Town House Park last October inspired plans for other community events, Lang said. She suggested Jan. 31’s event as a means of “get people out in the parks, especially at a time when they go largely unused.”

Participants are encouraged to bring snowshoes, sleds, and cross-country skis, as well as headlamps and flashlights.

“The moon is only so bright, right?” Lang noted.

Subsequent town park events have yet to be planned, but Lang hopes in better weather to organize an event similar to the town’s former “Tri-NY” triathlon, which encompassed Wescustogo Park on Route 231, the Royal River and Old Town House Park.

Lang’s committee is “looking at ways that we can make the parks more inviting visually … and in terms of what people are going there for,” she said. “… The parks are great as open space, but they’re not super inviting. They can be if you know what to do with them.”

To that end, birdhouses are being hung around the parks to accommodate bird lovers – as well as the birds – and the committee is looking into placing picnic tables and benches by the river and planting more trees.

“There’s kind of like, full forest, and then there’s open space meadow, and there’s not really anything in between,” Lang said. “So we’ve invested in putting some trees out to make some shady, semi-open spots.”

“Overall we’re looking ultimately at connectivity amongst the parks,” she added.

As opposed to North Yarmouth being a place for bicyclists and pedestrians to pass through on their way to somewhere else, “why not have somebody stop and enjoy it here.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.