There’s a tasty snack waiting for you on Maine hiking trails this summer – Bangor Daily News

Wild blueberry season sneaks up on me every year, and I don’t mind the scrumptious surprise one bit.

This year, it happened on the Fourth of July. I was hiking up Great Pond Mountain in Orland with my husband, Derek, and our dog, Juno. As we followed the Stuart Gross Trail up the gentle west slope of the mountain, I noticed a purple-blue berry nestled in a low-lying bush.

The berry wasn’t quite ripe, and it was surrounded by even less ripe, green blueberries. But I had hope.

Farther up the trail, out of the shade of the forest, we started spotting ripe wild blueberries all over the place. We crouched on exposed granite bedrock to pluck and immediately snack on the tiny, flavor-packed fruit.

Juno showed some interest by sniffing around, so we offered her a few. Before long, she was nudging our hands for more.

Wild blueberries can be found growing alongside many public trails in Maine, especially up in the mountains, where conditions for growing are right. However, it’s important to check and see if berry picking is permitted on the lands you visit.

The view from Great Pond Mountain in Orland. (Courtesy of Aislinn Sarnacki)

Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, which owns and manages the trails on Great Pond Mountain, allows casual berry picking on their properties. However, the land trust asks that visitors not remove wildflowers or other plants.

Each place has its rules, and they can be fairly detailed. For example, in Acadia National Park, blueberry picking is limited to one dry half-gallon per person per day, which is plenty if you’re just picking a few to snack on while hiking.

The Acadia Superintendent’s Compendium, where you can find a long list of park rules, also states that berries should be picked in a manner that doesn’t damage the remainder of the plant. I think that’s a good guideline for berry picking on any property. While picking, step with care so you don’t trample the bushes and surrounding plants. Try to stay on rock surfaces if possible.

Trailside blueberries are a wonderful little treat, but if you’re looking to harvest a good amount of blueberries — say for a blueberry pie — your best …….


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