Tote Road & Logging

What Am I Looking At?

You can see that what you have been walking on are the past remnants of a "tote road." Tote roads were once cut to get into the woods to harvest lumber.

What is a Tote Road?

You may have noticed the distinct remnants of a road as you turned into the evergreen forest. This is an old tote road. Tote roads are used for carrying supplies. During settlement times, these roads were often made into the woods for the purpose of harvesting lumber and carrying it back out for use.

Did You Know?

  • The average colonial family used 30–40 cords of wood per year. This is the equivalent of about one acre of woods.
  • New towns often built sawmills before anything else, including grist mills (which were used to grind grain into flour, a major food source).
  • By the early 1800s, the quality of the vessels built in local shipyards and the seamanship of the Arundel men who sailed them had made the town, despite its narrow river, into one of Maine’s most prosperous seaports. Departures, arrivals, launchings, and sinkings: all were noted with the interest befitting a town which had made dockside farewells, widows-walk vigils, and joyous returns a way of life. Signs of our maritime history can still be seen throughout Kennebunkport.

    Why Wood?

    There were many uses for wood and many are still important to us today.

    • Tannin in tree bark was used for thetanning process.
    • Wood produced pitch, tar and resin used in naval stores.
    • Trees were felled to be used in ship building. The largest, straightest trees were used for masts. Smaller ones were used for spars.
    • Wood in the form of boards, clapboards, shingles and barrel staves were used to support everyday life. Houses, containers, dishes, spoons, bowls, furniture, and coffins were made of wood.
    • Wood was also an important colonial export, especially to the Caribbean.
    • Wood was a major form of fuel as a heat source and as the way people cooked meals during colonial times.
    • Wood was the material most available and most easily shaped so it could be made into many things.

    This wooden rake is one of the many tools and household items that used to be made from wood.
    This is a cord of cut wood at 4 x 4 x 8 feet.

    Coyote Tracks
    Courtesy Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

    What's Next?

    As you continue on, see if you can find other things that indicate past use of the land..