Muskie Trail

A patchwork of wetland, meadow, and forest dedicated to Senator Edmund S. Muskie

Pair with the Pilger Trail for a 1-mile loop featuring a small bog, a large vernal pool, habitat managed for New England cottontails, plenty of forest edge, and a brackish marsh view. An easy route, but sections with exposed roots, slick boardwalks, and some seasonal wet areas.

Muskie1
Begin at the mowed path west of the Visitor Center.
Muskie2
This section once led to a pasture in the Drakes Island marsh.
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This bog supports orchids, cranberries, and tiny carnivorous sundews.
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Shrublands are a rare and important habitat in southern Maine.
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A vernal pool is essential breeding habitat for frogs, salamanders, and invertebrates.

Dedication Pamphlet, 1991

The Muskie Trail was dedicated on August 23, 1991. To mark the occasion, Laudholm Trust produced a pamphlet that honored Senator Muskie, described the new trail, and recognized donors. The text of this 24-page booklet is reproduced below.

The trail guide was written by Carollee Ferris and the biographical text was prepared by Vicki Adams. Poetry selections were edited by Owen Grumbling. Patricia Annaclette Smith provided illustrations. 


The Muskie Trail
Dedicated to Senator Edmund S. Muskie
August 23, 1991

Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
at Laudholm Farm


Senator Muskie head shot and quote
In decades and ages past, it was master the wind, conquer the land, and tame the oceans. Now we know that we will have defeated ourselves if we overpower the total environment.

A Guide to the Muskie Trail 

We dedicate this trail to Edmund S. Muskie who translated his love of nature into laws that charted a new course toward stewardship of the environment. It is a meditative trail—a place to reflect upon the harmony of fawns in the cinnamon ferns, to hear the peaceful sounds of water trickling under a bridge, the mew of a catbird in a barberry shrub, or the soft guttural quacks of a black duck guiding her brood. The Muskie Trail travels far from everyday. 

We should go forth on the shortest walk... in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return.

Henry David Thoreau, Journals

At the beginning of the Muskie Trail, lawns and fields drop away from the front of the farmhouse in a broad breezy sweep to the maple-lined Laudholm Farm Road. The trail follows these contours through the stone wall, across the road, and into a peaceful, woodland retreat. 

At the boardwalk, a vaulted corridor stretches through the wooded swamp. Red maples form a canopy above the trail, turning the shimmering sunlight green. The pathway goes along the top of a berm, which was formed when early farmers dug a ditch to direct the runoff from the well and drain the nearby hayfield. In spring, blue flag iris bloom at ditchside, and in fall, tiny scarlet mushrooms or lemon-yellow fungi brighten the narrow footpath.

[iris illustration]

At the bridge over the ditch, the trail changes from an enclosed hallway to the wide spaces of the lower pastures. This field has not been maintained as a hayfield for many years; it is reverting to its true nature as a fen. Sphagnum mosses, blueberry, and cranberry hide beneath the sedges and royal ferns. Cotton grass dots the meadow.

There are a variety of rare flowers growing here. The green fringed orchis and pale green orchis are inconspicuous orchids, but arethusa, grass pink, and rose pogonia bloom spectacularly throughout the fen in early summer. Minuscule round-leaved sundews can be seen by those who don't mind searching on hands and knees. This tiny plant, no larger than a fingernail, has sticky red hairs on the perimeter of its leaves to ensnare an unwary insect. 

I want the inner meaning and the understanding of the wild flowers in the meadow. Why are they? What end? What purpose?... They make no shadow of pretence, these beautiful flowers, of being beautiful for my sake.

Richard Jefferies, Nature and Books 

[floral illustration]

In the hayfields, grasses, dandelion, purple cow vetch, St. Johnswort, daisies, and milkweed entice the coppers, painted ladies, and monarch butterflies. The large black and yellow argiope spider builds her web between the goldenrod stalks and sews it together with a white zigzag stitch. Northern harriers and foxes hunt the fields for small rodents and snakes. A woodchuck sits tall to watch the watcher. Deer graze the pastures at dawn and dusk, and 

Lavishly to left and right,
The fireflies, like golden seeds, 
Are sown upon the night.

A.B. Comstock, Handbook Of Nature Study 

[decayed log illustration]

The trail enters a damp hushed environment of fungi and ferns, liverworts and mosses, and red maple and red spruce. Many of the trees are leaning, or toppled and entangled like jackstraws. They have been left to mature, age, decay, and return to the duff from which they grew. 

Life and death and reproduction are all parts of an ongoing process whereby living matter is recycled and evolved to create ever-newer forms. Without this process life itself would perish, unable to survive the changes of the universe.

William Sargent, Pleasant Bay 

Just past the next bridge, a spur meanders further into the forest where white pines predominate in cathedral-like silence. The path loops to a stream which drains the ditches and a wetland to the north. This river gradually becomes a tidal creek, crosses under Drake's Island Road, and enters the Webhannet estuary. The Muskie Trail passes through the watershed that drains the moraine at the Visitor Center. 

On the main trail and its spur, red squirrels chirr their displeasure at any interruption to their pinecone stripping, while the pines hush their scolding. During warm weather, veery, hermit, and wood thrushes sing haunting melodies, and in winter, chickadees, nuthatches, and downy woodpeckers offer companionship. This is a place of abiding peace. 

[forest illustration]

It is inconceivable to me that an ethical relation to land can exist without love, respect, and admiration for land, and a high regard for its value... In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac 

The trail passes under a leaning limb and through an open meadow where many seedling trees are thrusting up through the grasses. Then it crosses the field to enter a different forest on the other side. This is an upland forest of white pine and oak. The underbrush was cleared years ago, probably for hunting. In this forest, there are vernal pools where wood frogs and salamanders breed, and green frogs twang for mates. 

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness?

Gerald Manley Hopkins 

One of the oldest trees on the Reserve stands just ahead. It is a many-limbed white pine—a wolf tree. The tree has shaded out seedlings, and so an enormous grassy lawn surrounds this old auntie of a pine. 

Half a mile from home, at the farther edge of the woods, where the land was highest, a great pine-tree stood, the last of its generation. Whether it was left for a boundary mark, or for what reason, no one could say... Sylvia knew it well. She had always believed that whoever climbed to the top of it could see the ocean; and the little girl had often laid her hand on the great rough trunk and looked up wistfully at those dark boughs that the wind always stirred, no matter how hot and still the air might be below. Now she thought of the tree with a new excitement, for why, if one climbed it at break of day, could not one see all the world, and easily discover whence the white heron flew, and mark the place, and find the hidden nest?

Sarah Orne Jewett, A White Heron

Another stately old tree stands a short distance after the next trail junction on the right. It is a shagbark hickory, a venerable old uncle. High in its branches are the remains of an old deer blind. 

The boardwalk passes through a red maple swamp, then further along toward the overlook there is evidence of a transition in undergrowth and canopy. This area has been a freshwater swamp for many years, closed off from saltwater influence by a road and tide gate. But a rusted clapper valve finally gave way, and the swamp is fast reverting to its natural character as a salt marsh. Many shrubs and trees that flourished in the freshwater swamp are dead, but Spartina grasses sprout by the creek and under the red maples. 

The shore is an ancient world, for as long as there has been an earth and sea, there has been this place of the meeting of land and water. Yet it is a world that keeps alive the sense of continuing creation and of the relentless drive of life.

Rachel Carson, The Edge of the Sea 

The Webhannet overlook is situated on an incipient salt marsh. It provides a close view of a great number of species that use the salt marsh-­killdeer, dowitcher, snowy egret, teal, eider, herring gull, and great blue heron all come here to feed. Black ducks and Canada geese raise young in the area. Raccoon, otter, mouse, and deer also come to the salt marsh—their tracks can be found here at low tide. 

 —And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime 
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air, 
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man: 
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought, 
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still 
A lover of the meadows and the woods, 
And mountains; and of all that we behold 
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear,—both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense 
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being. 

William Wordsworth, Tintern Abbey

Edmund Sixtus Muskie 

In the winter of 1971 Senator Edmund S. Muskie visited the Polish village where his father was born. "I had seen it in my mind's eye," he wrote in his autobiographical book, Journeys. "When you have the sense that you are approaching a place identified with your past, a place which often has been described to you, there is an emotional sweep to it all." 

The senator recognized his father's farm and church before they were identified. He found one relative who showed him pictures of his father, Stephen, and in the graveyard he found one tombstone with his family's old name, Marciszewski. The stone was lying on its side. 

At the age of 17, Senator Muskie's father left a Poland controlled by czarist Russia, narrowly escaping conscription into the millitary. In 1903, he arrived in the United States with five years of formal education and training as a tailor. An immigration official at Ellis Island shortened his name. He married Josephine Czarnecki, and the couple settled in Rumford, Maine, where they raised a family of six children, Edmund being the second. 

Senator Muskie's childhood memories include fishing with his father, candlelit Christmas trees, home remedies, family stories, laughter, lively debates, and working in his father's tailor shop. He inherited his mother's ingenuity and honesty, and he grew to share his father's intense love of freedom and deep appreciation of the environment. 

As a student, he participated in sports and student government, and he excelled at academics. After graduating from Bates College, he went on to Cornell University Law School, then established a law practice in Waterville, Maine. During World War II, he served on destroyer escorts in the Atlantic and Pacific. 

He married Jane Gray of Waterville in 1948. They have five children—Stephen, Ellen, Melinda, Martha, and Edmund, Jr.—as well as six grandchildren. 

Edmund Muskie's political career began in 1946, when he was elected to the Maine House of Representatives. During his next two terms, he served as minority leader, and in 1954, he won the highest state office in an upset victory against the Republican incumbent. He served two terms as a Democratic governor with a predominently Republican House and Senate. "It was a rigorous training ground for minority politics," he wrote. During that time, he championed some of the first water quality legislation in Maine. 

Another upset victory in 1958 heralded his 22 ­year service in the U.S. Senate. As chairman of the Public Works Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution, Senator Muskie helped to formulate the Clean Air Act of 1963 and the Water Quality Act of 1965, and he made sure that funds were available for pollution control efforts. After addressing the problem of factory emissions, he recognized the need to control something closer to home, the family car. "You cannot have the same freedom to use the automobile and the highway as you had twenty-five years ago," he wrote, "if you are to protect that still more fundamental freedom, the right to draw breath." 

Senator Muskie also supported the model cities program, school aid, antipoverty programs, creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Medicare, and civil rights. He attended the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr., and participated in the march to the cemetery. "We were at home from the beginning," he wrote, "our fellow Black citizens accepting us in this, our shared moment of sorrow."

In 1965, he participated in a world-wide, bipartisan trip to determine attitudes toward the war in Vietnam. He helped issue a report that was one of the "early shockers," warning President Johnson about the threatening escalation of the war. 

In 1968, Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey chose Senator Muskie to be his vice­-presidential candidate. They lost to Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew with only a half-percent difference in the popular vote.

President Jimmy Carter appointed him Secretary of State in May of 1980, and he served until the end of Carter's term in January 1981. That same year, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Former Members of Congress and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 to serve on the three-member Special Review Board to investigate the role of the National Security Council in the Iran/Contra affair. 

Senator Muskie is currently a senior partner with Chadbourne & Parke, an international law firm. He is chairman of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and of the Center for National Policy. 

As his career advanced, Senator Muskie's view became more and more global. "We no longer have the 'simple' answers of cold war logic," he wrote. "No man, no nation should seek to divide the world up into dominated territories or spheres of influence. For one of the hard lessons I have learned is that the world is full of differences but that it does not divide." 

Expressing their feelings about the dedication of the Muskie Trail at the Wells Reserve, Sue and Sandy Greenberg wrote, "It is quite fitting to honor Ed Muskie by naming this trail after him. We say this because in the early days of our country, a trail was the way that people went to explore unchartered [sic] wilderness and to guide others who would follow after them. For all of our memories of Ed Muskie and his great contributions to his country, what we remember best is that night in November in 1970, when he sat in his rocking chair and blazed a trail for all America through the emotional underbrush of that day, to a place where reason, good feeling and constitutional values could endure." 


The people whose names appear on the following pages made the dedication of the Muskie Trail possible through their generosity. 

Madeleine Korbel Albright

Dr. Albright first suggested dedicating a Wells Reserve trail to Senator Muskie after she and the Senator visited the Reserve in the summer of 1989. She felt that a nature trail close to his home in Maine would be a fitting tribute to one of the greatest environmentalists of our time. 

[grass/fish illustration]

Senator Muskie listens to Madeleine Albright

Dr. Albright has been a close friend of the Senator for many years. She worked on his presidential campaign in 1972, and she joined his staff as chief legislative assistant in 1976. They are currently working together at the Center for National Policy, of which she is president and he is chairman. 

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, she came to this country with her family when her father was appointed Czechoslovakia's ambassador to the United Nations. She first came to Maine as a teenager while visiting friends in Biddeford. 

She graduated from Wellesley College and received her doctorate from Columbia University. Since 1982, she has been the Donner Professor of International Affairs and director of the Women in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. She has written several books about political change in Czechoslovakia and Poland. An expert on the Soviet Union, she is in great demand--especially in these times of change. She appears regularly as a commentator on national radio and television. 

Joe and Barbara Allbritton 

The Allbrittons have been friends of the Muskies since 1972. Mr. Allbritton, a Texas attorney, is chairman of the Board of The Riggs National Bank of Washington, D.C., and owner of five network-affiliated television stations as well as one newspaper. He is a member of The National Geographic Society Board. Mrs. Allbritton is a board member of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and works on the Blair House Restoration Fund. 

Berl Bernhard 

Mr. Bernhard was Senator Muskie's presidential campaign manager in 1972, and is a close friend of the Muskies. He is a named partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm, Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson, and Hand. 

Sanford and Susan Greenberg 

The Greenbergs have been friends of the Muskies since the 1960s in Washington, D.C. They worked on Senator Muskie's vice-presidential and presidential campaigns. More recently, Mr. Greenberg worked with the Senator on the American Agenda. He founded the Compressed Speech Company and the Educational Computer Corporation. Mrs. Greenberg serves as a trustee of the Sidwell Friends School and chairman of the Parents Council of Washington University. 

Armand Hammer 

Dr. Hammer knew Senator Muskie through mutual involvement in the Roosevelt Campobello International Park, of which the Senator is chairman, and was a long-time supporter of the Senator. He was an internationally known entrepreneur. 

George and Rebecca Love 

The Loves have supported the Wells Reserve, "One of the shining lights of Maine," since its beginnings and are very pleased to see a trail being dedicated in honor of Senator Muskie. Mr. Love, now retired, was an engineer at the former Saco-Lowell textile mill. In 1959, he traveled to Poland for the U.S. Department of Commerce to help the textile industry in that country. Mrs. Love has done volunteer work for many organizations including the Women's Guild of the Portland Symphony. 

Norman and Patricia Ritter 

The Ritters are neighbors and long-time admirers of the Senator. Mr. Ritter is the spokesman for the Henley Group, Hampton, N.H. He is a trustee of Laudholm Trust. 

The Henley Group 

A diversified industrial corporation based in Hampton, N.H., The Henley Group is a corporate founder and supporter of Laudholm Trust. 

John and Loraine Rockwell 

The Rockwells are neighbors and personal friends of the Muskies in Maine. Mr. Rockwell is a management consultant in the Booz, Allen, and Hamilton firm in New York City. Mrs. Rockwell is retired from her career as a registered nurse. 

Maynard J. Toll, Jr. 

Mr. Toll served as Senator Muskie's administrative assistant in the Senate. He and his wife, Kay, are long-time friends of the Muskies. Mr. Toll is currently president and branch manager of First Boston, Ltd. in Tokyo. 

[farm landscape]

Gail Alling
Arnold and Virginia Anderson
Joseph G. Angelone
Dr. Richard D. Antal
Tom Anthony
James and Carol Armstrong
Ted and Elizabeth Baker
Richard A. Barker
Judy Barrows
Frederick D. Barton
Paul L. Beach and Audni Miller-Beach
Donna L. Beck
Don and Jan Beddie
Elsie Bisbee
Mr. and Mrs. Maurice F. Blouin
Louis D. Bourgeois
Gail T. Bowditch
Dr. Ann M. Briley
Lawrence and Louise Butler
Jane Fenderson Cabot
Kathryn E. Cade
Robert and Eleanor Carberry
Jean and Crawford Carter, Jr.
Walter Clark
Richard and Florence Cleaves
Dr. Sheila Clemon-Karp
Honorable and Mrs. Frank Coffin
Mr. and Mrs. John M. Cole
David D. Connell
Ms. Irene Crosby
Capt. and Mrs. Howard Crosby
Margaret Currey
Jennifer Currie
Dr. and Mrs. John H. Dearborn
Mrs. Storer G. Decatur
Mr. and Mrs. David Desmond
Maurice R. and Louise M. Dorais.Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Weaver W. Dunnan
Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Dyer
Richard and Dianne Eakin
Forrest and Sara Earl
Frederick and Doris Evans
Jack R. and Rosemary L. Fecteau, Sr
Mr. and Mrs. Terry Finn
Harvey Flashen and Ann Sullivan
Mr. and Mrs. Max Flowers
Mary-Hale and John R. Furman
Beverly Gaudet
Barbara M. Goodbody
Mrs. E. C. Graham
James Grana and M. John Kawadler
Mary L. Griffin
Edward Gutauskas
Everett and Louise Hackett
Gilbert E. Hanson
Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Harding Jr.
Elin and John M. Harris
Weston and Herda Hart
Charles and Miriam Hatch
Myra L. Herrick
Garry Hinkley
Edward R. Hodgkins
Ms. Constance A. Holmes
Rosalind S. Holt
Robert and Frances Hotelling
Walter and Ruth Howard
William White Howells
Nancy Hughes
Lois H. Johnson
Inn on South Street
Bruce and Denise Joy
Betty Joyce
Rob and Lily Kendall
Alice and Charlie Lander
Mr. and Mrs. Donald R. Larrabee
Laverdiere's Drugstore
Estelle A. Lavoie
Pearl B. Lebel
Lee Management Company
Abraham Leibowitz 

Everett Lenentine
Robert O. Lenna
Mr. and Mrs. Eugene F. Lilly
Everett L. Lord
Ms. Beatrice Lord
Warren Lothrop and B.E. LaGoudes
Dr. John C. Love and Susan Peabody
Don and Betsy Lowry
William T. and Geraldine L. Lufkin
Erik and Diane Lund
Wallace and Shirley MacGregor
Mrs. J. Howard Marshall Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Martell
Dorothy F. Mason
Mort and Barbara Mather
Elizabeth I. McBratney
David C. Mention and Dorothy Streett
Charlie and Judy Micoleau
Barbara Mildram
Sen. George J. Mitchell
Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Mollenkopf
Mr. and Mrs. John Monkman
Mrs. Olive B. Moore
Gary Myrick
Marc and Julia Nault
Lillian N. Newick
Hilda and Don Nicoll
Miss Marion E. Nutting
Rita J. O'Brien
William A. and Jean M. Oates
Guido J. and Delphine Ossola
Carol L. Oster
Mrs. Jefferson Patterson
Jackson Perkins
Rita A. Perry
Theresa T. Picard
Ted and Diane Potter
Mr. Frank Primiano
Hank and Joyce Richard
Dr. Burtt and Gladys Richardson
Ms. Cynthia G. Riley
Murray and Shirley Rosen
Gary and Maria Rosen
Ethelyn Russell
Laurence M. Saunders
Frank Schneider
Mary E. Schnepel
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Scott
David and Suzanne Shaub
Mr. and Mrs. Peter Sheldon
Arnie and Barbara Silverstone
Barbara J. Sitomer
Mr. and Mrs. Jay S. Smith
Ethel Stansfield
Eleanor M. Stenson
Marshall and Donna Stem
Elizabeth P. Swift
Joel Swimm
Betty Syvinski
Dom J. Tardif
Ruth E. Taylor
John Taylor
Barbara Arnold Thomas
Pat Tracy
Maria Trodella
Jean G. Trump
Elena V. Tuhy
Alice Tuomivaara
Tureen and Margolin
David Vail
Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Vail
Mr. and Mrs. Harold VanSiclen
Mr. and Mrs. Herbert M. Varnum
James R. Vitelli
Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Weiss
John E. and Susan York Wilbur
Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Wildes
Yankee Publishing, Inc.
Mrs. John C. Young 

Trail Guide by Carollee Ferris
Biographical Text by Vicki Adams
Poetry edited by Owen Grumbling
Illustrations by Patricia Annaclette Smith 

Remembering the Early Years

Read the back story about how the Muskie Trail got its name

Madeleine Albright's Muskie Trail