Public Lands in Central Maine Worth Seeing: Viles Arboretum

"Rich in both past and present-day offerings, the Viles Arboretum in Augusta, Maine, sits on 224 acres of historic agricultural lands. Its six miles of trails create opportunities for all-season recreation, from hiking to gardening to cross-country skiing.

The story of the Arboretum picks up about 200 years ago, when it was owned by several neighboring farms. In 1835, the State Hospital (today’s Riverview Psychiatric Hospital) purchased the land, where it was used for crops and livestock, as well as occupational therapy and exercise for patients of the hospital. Even in the mid-1800s, it was known that being and working outdoors was beneficial to both the patients and the harvest! The land also provided a dependable water supply, and the Arboretum’s Hosta Trail still follows pipes that were used to transfer water under the street to the hospital. Though the cistern they once used was drained in1915, the land continued to be utilized in parts as a granite quarry turned dump (now filled), a piggery, and for dairy and produce for many decades."

Public Lands Worth Seeing

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