French Falls Park, Jay Recreation Area open for season

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Cross country skiers utilize the Jay Recreation Area trails that are maintained by volunteers.

JAY – French Falls Park and the Jay Recreation Area have just opened up for cross country skiing and snowshoeing for the season.

Both areas are open to the public, free of charge. They are maintained by the Jay Recreation Committee and both offer a variety of trails, some of which are groomed by snowmobile.

“[The trails] are maintained year round by an incredible group of volunteers who groom some of the trails with a snowmobile for snowshoers, and set tracks for cross country skiing,” wrote Jay Town Manager, Shiloh LaFreniere in an email.

Randy Easter and Don Leclerc, two Jay residents, often work together maintaining the trails year round. Sometimes the two not only groom the trails, but pack them down by foot.

“If we have a big snow… I may snowshoe one trail and he’ll snowshoe another. Just kind of breakout that way. It’s not worthwhile to bring out the snowmobile, it’s easier to just snowshoe it,” said Easter.

Easter, alongside maintaining the trails, is a frequent skier of the area.

“Twelve out of thirteen days I’ve been skiing in here,” said Easter.

The Jay Recreation area is best accessed at the end of Watertown Lane which can be reached with just a few turns off of Route 133 or Route 4. In the parking area is a kiosk with maps that detail the area’s ten trails.

The trails at the recreation area offer easy to moderate hikes through several wooded areas. The Jay Recreation Area is owned by the town, but French Falls Park has been leased from the Androscoggin Land Trust since 2015. French Falls Park has four main trails that run through it, most of which hug the Androscoggin River and offer views of the fast flowing water.

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