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Mackworth Island, Maine: A Nature Walk From Portland, Maine With Nature World News [EXCLUSIVE]

Nov 23, 2015 06:42 PM EST

Considering that walking in nature calms us and even changes our DNA for the better, Nature World News is keeping an eye on opportunities to walk in greenery in all North American cities. Recently, we walked a relatively urban but lovely trail from near downtown Portland, Maine to Mackworth Island, which is next to the suburban town of Falmouth and is the mostly wooded home of a 1.25-mile perimeter trail and the former Baxter School for the Deaf.

The journey to Mackworth Island is a great walk or bike ride of about 4.5 miles each way. You'll start on Baxter Boulevard across from Hannaford Supermarket on the Back Cove Trail. This is a pleasant, wide path past an estuarial cove in Portland's north side. You'll see houses across the water, but on your side you will see signage for rain gardens (greenery that we can plant to soak up rain and prevent flooding) and other park features. Take the trail east toward the bridge crossed by Highway 295. After crossing this bridge using the designated pedestrian/bike area, walk maybe a half mile and look for Veranda Street, then hook a right on that. (Scroll down to continue...)

After walking about a quarter of a mile, you'll cross the Highway 1 bridge, called Tukey's Bridge, to Falmouth. From the bridge you can look back to see Portland's Eastern Promenade, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted's landscape design firm--he also co-created New York's Central Park. Once you've crossed the bridge, look for Andrews Street (marked "dead end") and turn right to take it to the causeway (with designated walk/ped paths) across the mouth of the Presumpscot River to Mackworth Island.

Mackworth Island is a legislated bird sanctuary and has Eastern White pines, Atlantic White cedar, Balsam fir and other trees near the 1.25-mile trail that runs along the island's perimeter. You can see the river mouth or bay through the trees on Mackworth's dappled paths. (Scroll down to continue...) 

All in all, a walk or bike ride to Mackworth Island is pretty amazing--it's one of the rare occasions in U.S. cities when one can walk or bike for five miles or more on designated paths and without traffic hassle. The town of Falmouth also has a high-quality designated walk/bike trail along Highway 295, its central thoroughfare.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

-Follow Catherine on Twitter @TreesWhales

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