I am one of several people who have contributed a lot of time in developing Harpswell Heritage Land Trust’s Forest Playground, and I have grandkids (and my kids) who love this addition to the HHLT trails.

We believe the same person thinks what we are doing is “trash,” or at least that is what they wrote in our message book and on the wooden crates painted with chalkboard paint at the Forest Playground. They have destroyed key items in this part of the trail three times.

I wish this person had read the many positive comments from people who stated that they enjoyed playing, resting, learning, experimenting, discovering, imagining and creating. Should one person halt all this enjoyment for so many?

We know that many people have visited our Forest Playground in 2019 and this year, and we have heard from more than 200 families with positive comments like “This was one of the only times I liked hiking” (age 12) and “This is such a fantastic place and idea. Thank you!”

HHLT has built nearly 8 miles of trails and opens up several more preserves without trails to the public. I guess this person accepts that HHLT and many stewards clear, prepare and maintain trails, sometimes with wooden planks, bridges and railings, so that we can better enjoy the woods. But this person cannot accept that less than a quarter of a mile of a trail is put aside temporarily to spark curiosity and love of nature for our youngest visitors.

I wonder if someone reading this knows who this person is. I ask you to please go to them and ask them to stop. This may be the only way to keep the Forest Playground alive.

I would hate to see one person succeed in ruining it for so many, since this person has many more miles of trail to explore. Please give the kids this very small part of the woods, and you can enjoy the rest.

For those who have not experienced the Forest Playground, here are the key parts of this small area we have developed:

A storybook walk through the woods where kids can read the book to their grandparents (or others).

A challenge to find and name many kinds of birds (made of metal) that are placed in the nearby trees.

Empty picture frames with piles of “natural stuff” found in the woods to make your own picture.

A “kitchen” to bake make-believe pies with “natural stuff” found in the woods.

Binoculars and magnifying glasses to help learn more easily about “natural stuff” in the woods.

Several other elements have been destroyed and are no longer a part of the Forest Playground, though we hope to add them back into the mix in the future.

Please help us to support this wonderful addition to Harpswell.


Bill Snellings

Orr’s Island