Up for a trip to northern Maine? If so, Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge is a great spot for winter sports. This time of year, the refuge in Limestone, offers seven groomed miles of trails perfect for snowshoeing and skiing. If you’re not the cold weather type, and of the angling persuasion, wait until late spring and summer when the refuge hosts an annual fishing derby. Originally part of the Loring Air Force Base, the refuge was founded in 1998 with a primary focus of forest and grassland management.
Besides removing the Cold War-era military buildings and demolishing fences and railways, the refuge manages around 400 acres of grasslands. Biologists have even investigated using some of the abandoned military bunkers for artificial bat hibernacula! (Really, it’s true; click here) Located in a part of Maine dominated by potato and broccoli farming, the refuge is key in preserving the northern Maine forests and its wildlife, including upland sandpipers and neotropical migratory birds. If that’s not enough to get you up there, this photo should do the trick.
Photo: Sharon Wallace/USFWS