Red Rose Preserve
Red Rose History
Red Rose Preserve is comprised of two parcels, donated by the Lancaster and Hanson families, totaling over 62 acres. Mark C. Lancaster donated the 43.5-acre parcel with road frontage on Post Road in October 2018. Dating back as far as 1798, Mark’s family has called the lands along Post Road their home. Mark’s parents Horace Smith and Carmalene E. Lancaster pieced together the donated parcel between 1947-1975. In the 1950’s the Lancaster family operated a dairy farm in the southeast portion of the property previously cleared for agricultural use, including the current hayfields. Following Carlmalene Lancaster’s death in 2015, Mark began investigating the possibility of protecting the forests and fields that had been in his family for so long.
When Pamela and Joe Hanson heard about Mark’s donation, they contacted KELT about donating their parcel as well. Their property abuts the Lancaster parcel’s north field, and they had acquired the 18.7 parcel in 2003 to protect it from development. They transferred the property to KELT in June of 2019. Red Rose Preserve is especially significant to KELT as it features several of the pillars that define our organization: habitat restoration, human recreation, and nature-based education programs.
Red Rose Preserve is KELT’s first public preserve in Bowdoinham and was protected thanks to generous donations from local landowners. Red Rose features an approximately one-mile long loop visiting different parts of the property. The trail following the rolling landscape through the quiet woods can be enjoyed by a variety of preserve users, including hikers, birders, and walkers with leashed pets.
Red Rose Preserve, a former dairy farm, includes two hayfields, mixed forest with a perennial stream, and scrub-shrub habitat. This new preserve boasts sloping ravines, a variety of birds, and a plethora of plants and wildlife to discover. Red Rose Preserve is conveniently located near town and school property, is great for nature lovers of all ages, and will be open dawn to dusk, year round.
Driving directions to parking area:
To get to the preserve, take Route 1 south from Bath towards Brunswick. Take the ME-196 W exit toward ME-24/I-295/Topsham. Turn right at the first intersection after the exit. Then turn left onto ME-24 N and follow for 7.4 miles. Turn left onto Ridge Road and drive up the hill. Park in the gravel lot for the Town of Bowdoinham’s sports fields (North Field) on the left. Approximate street address is 66 Ridge Road, Bowdoinham, ME. Click here for a Google Map.
Ecology of Red Rose
The Red Rose Preserve is a part of a 125-acre block of undeveloped habitat within the town of Bowdoinham, making it a significant resource for wildlife, as well as for low-impact recreation and education. The eastern half of the property falls within the Kennebec Estuary Focus Area, one of Maine’s statewide focus areas of ecological significance for conservation. The northeastern tip of the former Hanson parcel falls within an Inland Waterfowl and Wading Bird Habitat. The stream and wetlands west of Ridge Road on this area of the parcel is identified as a freshwater tidal marsh, featuring an exemplary natural community.
The two fields on the western side of the Preserve along Post Road are considered grassland bird nesting habitat. KELT currently maintains the fields as bird nesting habitat by leasing the land to a local farm for hay production, and KELT plans to continue this practice. Other valuable features of the property include a freshwater wetland off the West Branch Denham Stream and an extensive swath of intact upland forest.