Cairns Woods trails will officially open

Posted 9/29/21

Ribbon cutting is Oct. 7 ELLSWORTH – The Ellsworth Trails Committee has been working hard clearing and grooming the trails system in Ellsworth’s Cairns Woods. A ribbon cutting and grand …

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Cairns Woods trails will officially open


Ribbon cutting is Oct. 7

ELLSWORTH – The Ellsworth Trails Committee has been working hard clearing and grooming the trails system in Ellsworth’s Cairns Woods. A ribbon cutting and grand opening will be held at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7 when the trails will officially open to the public.

“We’re finding that Cairns Woods continues to be one of the best kept recreation secrets in the Ellsworth area,” said Trail Committee member Kim Beebe.

The 34-acre parcel was donated to the village in the 1950s as a forest wildflower preserve, Beebe said.

The project to open the trails started in October 2019. The idea originated when the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the Design Ellsworth community planning event in 2018.

The community voiced a need for more outdoor recreation opportunities, such as biking and walking trails, and that is why the committee formed. The Trails Committee started with Cairns Woods and hopes to expand its scope in the future.

“Considering Ellsworth didn’t have any walking or biking trails and the committee had zero dollars for a budget, the planning quickly became overwhelming,” Beebe said. “None of us were experts and we didn’t know where to begin. We had a lot of big ideas, but needed to start with something more manageable. When we learned about Cairns Woods and explored it, we knew it was a project we could actually be successful doing.”

Aside from what has already been done in clearing these trails, the group has many visions and goals for the trails’ continuous improvement. The group would like to implement more signage for visitors to follow with an overview of the trail system. The group also hopes to work with the village of Ellsworth to find a space for more parking to access the trails.

Another goal the committee would like to accomplish is to implement an outdoor classroom.

“In keeping with the original intent of the park outlined in the deed, we would also like to create a rustic open-air classroom or meeting area where students of all ages could gather for nature learning and groups could meet up for meetings surrounded by nature,” said Beebe.

The clearing and maintenance have been completed by the Trails Committee, high school students, Boy Scout Troop 9138 and many community volunteers. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the committee needed to find ways to accommodate how volunteers participated in clearing the trails.

“What we did instead was mark the trails with flags and then invited the community to volunteer on their own time and at their own convenience to do some trail clearing,” Beebe said. “We also have local volunteers who commit to walking the trails weekly to monitor for maintenance from storm damage and pick up trash that is left behind.”

Anne Pechacek, also a member of the Ellsworth Trails Committee said, “I would add that the bulk of the work physical labor as well as planning of trails, has been headed by Steve and Sherry Marson, as well as a number of high school students who helped clear the earlier trails.”

Pechacek said the community is always welcome to volunteer as the process continues.

“We are working to grow the group and were highlighted as the group of the month in September at the Ellsworth E3 CDC organized Summer Fun Series,” Pechacek said. “We've had a great amount of positive feedback at these events and are excited about the increased interest. We meet every third Wednesday at 6:30 at Ellsworth Elementary and any new members are welcome to join us.”

The ribbon cutting will take place at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7 followed by an open house until 6:30 p.m. During the original dedication for Cairns Woods in 1949, the Ellsworth High School band played music during a ceremony and the same is planned for this one.

“We’ll have a short ceremony and ribbon cutting and everyone is invited to hit the trails and enjoy; bring the entire family,” Beebe said.