AS OF DECEMBER 2023: Attention Trail Friends! The gate to the Bethel Community Forest at Locke Mountain Road is now closed for the season. The Community Forest can be accessed via the plowed, winter parking lot at 305 North Road (just past Coleman Concrete).

There is absolutely NO parking in front of the gate or along Daisy Bryant Road. Doing so will result in your vehicle getting towed. Thank you, and we appreciate your cooperation!

Rumford Community Forest

Plan for 446-acre Rumford Community Forest Advances (March 2024)

New 446-acre Community Forest within five minutes of downtown Rumford has been permanently protected (March 2024)

Proposed Rumford Community Forest Public Planning Meetings Drawing Interest (June 2023)

Rumford Officials Consider Establishing a Community Forest Off Isthmus Road (April 2023)

The project is the purchase of approximately 446 acres of land on Isthmus Road in Rumford to create Rumford’s first Community Forest. The Rumford Community Forest will be open to the public for multiple recreational uses – hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, ATVs, hiking, biking, snowshoeing and skiing. It will be managed for forestry using exemplary forestry standards, and for wildlife habitat and ecological conservation. Inland Woods + Trails owns the land, as of February 2024, and will manage it as a community forest, with input from the community. The Trust for Public Land facilitated the acquisition of the property and has been an active player in public fundraising, and the Northern Forest Center has been assisting with the community planning process. The former landowner of the property was very supportive and agreed to sell it to become a community forest. Additional fundraising will continue through the end of the year to cover trail-creation related expenses (approximately $505,000).

The public had the opportunity to provide input into and help inform decisions on the future management and uses of the Community Forest through a public planning process that was open to all. The last public planning meeting is May 2024 and will conclude with a Community Forest Management Plan.

Bethel Community Forest

June 2023: NOTE: Whitecap Cliffs and Lichen Ledge hiking trails currently closed.

In 2019, Inland Woods + Trails, purchased the Bethel Community Forest. This 978-acre forest was acquired in collaboration with the Trust for Public Land and the Northern Forest Center. Since 2019 a variety of hiking and mountain biking trails have been built. In November 2022, Inland Woods + Trails and The Conservation Fund partnered to expand community recreation and prevent fragmentation of historic working forest by adding an additional 532 to the forest. The two organizations partnered again in 2023 to add an additional 28 acres to the forest with Inland Woods + Trails’ intent of using this newly acquired land to build a much needed trail center and limited primitive campsites.

Inland Woods + Trails has hosted the “Plant it Forward” event series. So far over 17,000 trees have been planted in the Community Forest as part of efforts to restore the landscape to a more balanced ecosystem. The goal is for an exemplary forest that supports biodiversity, reduces erosion, enriches soil, and hosts healthy wildlife habitat.

The Bethel Community Forest is also managed to protect the feeder streams to Chapman Brook and the Androscoggin River and to protect one of the most productive deer wintering areas in the state.

In the fall and winter the forest is open to traditional recreation uses such as hunting (with permission) and snowmobiling.

Visit our Resources page to see the forest management plan.

Maine’s Bethel Community Forest Grows by 532 Acres (November 2022)

Bethel Community Forest West (BCF West): BCF West is a 532 acre forest originally part of the Chadbourne Tree Farm forest network. In 2020, the property was sold, along with nearly 15,000 acres of Chadbourne Tree Farm land to The Conservation Fund (TCF). In 2022, it was purchased by IWT and converted to the Bethel Community Forest as part of the Chadbourne Conservation Partnership plan.

Currently there are 3 miles of hiking trails and the trailhead can be found at 753 North Road, Bethel ME.

The connection: When Inland Woods + Trails was founded, a foundational goal was to connect Sunday River to the Bethel village through a system of trails. The Bethel Community Forest and Bingham Forest are enormous puzzle pieces in IWT’s mission to create a 3,600-acre tapestry of conserved land to connect communities of Bethel and beyond with the peaks of Sunday River. These forests host trail corridors that will allow travel from Bethel to Sunday River via a traditional hiking trail, a single-track bike trail, a multiple use double track trail, or a snowmobile trail.

Bingham Forest: The 2,358-acre Bingham Forest was conveyed to the Bethel Water Company in 1925. In 2007, a torrential rainstorm severely damaged a brook in the forest which was a key part of the infrastructure for the drinking water supply for Bethel. The town then shifted to sourcing water from subsurface wells, and in 2010 the trusteeship of the forest was conveyed to the Town of Bethel. The Bingham Forest is managed for watershed protection, wildlife habitat protection, public recreation, and sustainable timber management. Inland Woods + Trails serves as the recreation managers for the forest.

In 2019, a clear route of access was available to the Bingham Forest when IWT purchased the Bethel Community Forest. In 2020, the Bingham Cascades Trail was built off the Summit Ridge Trail. It travels through the Bingham Forest and visits a series of waterfalls and cascades. In 2021, a single-track mountain bike trail “Flux” was built as a connector from the BCF to a bike trail located on Bethel Water District land called “Ghost”. Additional single track has been built since then, and various double track woods roads have been rehabilitated for recreation use.

During at least the next two winters the Town of Bethel will be conducting a timber harvest in the Bingham Forest.

What does that mean for Bethel Community Forest visitors in the winter?

  • There is absolutely no parking at the BCF gate at the corner of the Daisy Bryant and Locke Mtn Rd at any time between November 1 and when the gate opens in spring.
  • To provide access to BCF during the winter, we have activated a second parking lot at 305 North Rd in Bethel just past Coleman Concrete. This is a multi-use trailhead with parking for snowmobile access, backcountry skiing, and snowshoeing. This would not have been possible without the extraordinary help of the Greenstock Snowmobile Club, IWT staff and volunteers, and the supporters of the CATS expansion who are making the dream of an interconnected year-round trail system from Mt Abram to Sunday River a reality.
  • The first 1/2 mile of trail will be multi use–please ride, ski, and snowshoe with caution and heed the trail signs you find. Dogs must be on leash in this area.
  • The snowmobile trail in the BCF has been rerouted to steer clear of the logging and trucking operation. Please stay on the marked trail.
  • The Bingham Cascades Trail is closed in the winter due to logging in the Bingham Forest, but is open for spring through Fall use.
  • Have fun and be safe.
Trails Available & Stats:  Easy trail symbol Moderate difficulty trail symbol Difficult trail symbol

Traditional hiking trail: 10.69 mi

  • Summit Ridge Trail 1.7 mi
  • Bingham Cascades Trail 3.29 mi
  • Whitecap Cliffs Trail (closed/under construction) 2.16 mi
  • Lichen Ledge Trail (closed/under construction) 1 mi
  • Parks-Bennett Trail 2.07 mi
  • Red Pine Ridge Trail 0.47 mi
  • Flux (easy/intermediate) (two-way traffic) 0.74 mi
  • Ghost (easy) (two-way traffic) 0.76 mi
  • Phoenix (easy/intermediate) (two-way traffic) 1.21 mi
  • Tribute (intermediate) (one-way traffic) 1.95 mi
  • Gulley-Verse Travels (proposed/intermediate/one-way traffic/first .3 miles complete) 1.35 mi
  • Lynx (intermediate) 0.1 mi
  • Limbo (easy) 0.4 mi
  • Parietal (difficult) (two-way traffic) 0.5 mi
  • Palatine (under construction) (difficult) (one-way traffic) 0.2 mi
  • Malleus (under construction) (difficult) (one-way traffic) 0.2 mi
  • Maxilla (extremely difficult) (one-way traffic) 0.22 mi
  • Humerus (under construction) (extremely difficult) (one-way traffic) 0.67 mi
  • Summit Access Road 1.36 mi
  • #13 Snowmobile Trail 1.8 mi
  • Old County Road 0.95 mi
  • Knoll Road 0.41 mi
  • Boundary Brook Road 0.49 mi
  • Upper Community Access Trail 0.61 mi
  • Lower Community Access Trail (under construction) 1.94 mi
  • Mountain bikes have the right-of-way on single track bike trails
  • Dogs allowed on leash or under voice command on all trails
  • Bikes are not allowed on hiking only trails
  • Authorized vehicles may be present at any time on all double track roads and pathways
  • Motorized vehicles are prohibited on all trails except for snowmobiles on the snowmobile trail in the BCF and Bingham Forest
  • Snowmobiles have the right-of-way on the #13 snowmobile trail
  • Active forestry may be occurring at any time
  • Overnight camping is prohibited
  • Open fires are not permitted
  • Park in designated parking spots only; do not block the gate if closed and do not park along Daisy Bryant Road.
  • Carry out all litter, including pet waste.
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