The Mt. Apatite quarries were important producers of commercial feldspar in the early 1900’s. During the course of this mining activity, rare minerals and colorful crystals of green and pink tourmaline were found in both the Greenlaw and Maine Feldspar Quarries. The complexity of the mineral assemblage at Mt. Apatite is matched by only a few other localities in Maine.
These quarries are among a small number of mineral collecting sites in Maine that offer a combination of good public access and the possibility of finding many different minerals. Further information, including a detailed map of the park and its trail system, is available from the Auburn Parks & Recreation Department (207-784-0191).
According to the City of Auburn’s web site, today, amateurs may still search the mine tailings for Apatite, Tourmaline and Quartz specimens (specific rules apply). With assistance from a Land and Water Conservation Fund matching grant, 3.1 miles of multi-purpose trails were constructed in the summer of 1994 within the park to serve all outdoor enthusiasts. In 1997, Auburn received two grants through the National Recreational Trails Act which are being used to improve park signage, existing trails, and to add trails to the quarry area.
The park is open to the public from dawn to dusk year round. In the winters, the trail is groomed for cross country skiing and snow shoeing. In the spring, summer and fall, the trails are open to mountain bikers, runners, hikers, and other non-motorized trail users. As with all municipal parks, hunting is not allowed within park boundaries. Park brochures, which include a trail map, park rules, trail etiquette and other park information, are available at the Parks & Recreation Department office Monday 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Directions: From junction of Routes 4/100/202 and 11/121 in Auburn, drive west on Rte. 11/121 for 1.9 miles. Turn right onto Garfield Road and go northwest for 0.50 mile. Turn left onto Stevens Mill Road. Go to the end of this road, pass the National Guard Armory, and continue on a dirt road across a large open field. Buses park next to the road on the west side of the field; cars and vans can park among the trees. Walk uphill, staying on the old quarry road, for about 0.4 mile. The Greenlaw Quarry and associated dumps are on the right (north) side of the road; the Maine Feldspar Quarry and dumps are to the left.
(SOURCE: Maine Geological Survey info/State of Maine website)