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jandrewsshovelEastern Trail News Page - Current and Archive

Many articles about the Eastern Trail are organized on this news archives page.  The most recent articles appear immediately below, with the first part of each article displayed. Click on any article title, or the "Read More.." link to read the full text of that article. A list of additional article titles appears at the bottom of the page.



Critical link in the Eastern Trail set to open soon story - Tuesday, August 30th, 2011, 3:33pm
Submitted by Tim Goff

KENNEBUNK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A critical link in the Eastern Trail, a 60 mile long multi-use recreation trail stretching from South Portland to Kittery, is set to open soon.

"I think for the first time the Eastern Trail is really on the map," stated Bob Hamblen, president of the Eastern Trail Alliance.  "We feel like we are opening the door a little bit and saying, world come on in.  We've got a trail, we've got a new bridge, we are building more trail as we speak, so come in and check us out."

What has Hamblen so excited is construction on a $3 million bridge spanning the Maine Turnpike, connecting two sections of trail, will be complete in the next week to ten days.

read the full article here.

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A saltwater marsh anyone on two wheels can navigate

June 26, 2011 | By Cathy Genthner, Globe Correspondent

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — I had not been on a bicycle in years and my weight had crept up along with my age. Those concerns evaporated with the early morning fog as soon as I got going.

It was easy pedaling on a 3-mile section of the Eastern Trail that cuts through the center of the Scarborough Marsh, a wildlife sanctuary just 15 minutes outside of Portland. My senses were awakened by the sight of a blue heron nestled among the marsh reeds, the piercing cries of seagulls overhead, and the smell of the stinging salt air as I watched an angler pull in a striper.

“We think it is a unique experience that one can encounter while on the most popular and visible section of the trail,’’ said Bob Hamblen, a vice president for the Eastern Trail Alliance. “You can come by on any given day and see birders, bird hunters during hunting season, fishermen, canoeists, runners, and bicyclists.’’

Seals have been seen swimming under the bridge that crosses the Dunstan River on the trail just off Pine Point Road. Eagles have been spotted.

“People come from all around the world to take in the habitat. There are countless birds and seals. It is a wildlife sanctuary and is protected by the State of Maine. It is dust free, smoke free, and fumes free,’’ said John Andrews, president of the alliance. “The marsh changes every hour as the sun goes across the clouds. It is just a beautiful place to go biking.’’

The trail through the marsh is one segment of the 65-mile trail that runs from Kittery to Portland, taking in eight lighthouses along the way. It is part of the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway that stretches from Key West, Fla., to Calais. The trail crossing the marsh begins on Eastern Road (off Black Point Road) and heading south, goes for 3 miles to Pine Point Road and then to Old Blue Point Road. There are parking lots for vehicles and kiosks where the trail intersects the roads. The trail was constructed from the abandoned railroad that was built in 1841. Over a span of more than a century, the line was operated by the Portland, Saco and Portsmouth Railroad, followed by the Eastern Railroad, and lastly, the Boston and Maine Railroad until the end of World War II.

Read the full article online here

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Eastern Trail Management District Newsletter - January 2011

The Eastern Trail Management District (ETMD) is a group of representatives from each Eastern Trail town that manages the construction and upkeep of the trail. Below is ETMD's January 2011 newsletter:

A leader on the trail (Nov. 28, 2010)

John Andrews is the motivating force behind southern Maine's expanding off-road trail system.

By Deirdre Fleming This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Staff Writer

ARUNDEL - The trail was slick with sleet Friday morning and the rain was cold, but John Andrews happily covered ground in his work boots as he gave a tour through the wood-lined path leading to the Kennebunk River.

It was the newest section of the Eastern Trail, and after several trail "unveilings" in as many years, Andrews is getting used to showing off this ever-expanding off-road trail in southern Maine.

The Eastern Trail begins at Bug Light in South Portland and the plan is to extend it all the way to Kittery, some 70 miles. It currently travels off road in sections through South Portland, Scarborough, Saco, Old Orchard Beach and now, with the newest section, across Biddeford, Arundel and Kennebunk.


John Andrews points toward Kennebunk as he shows off a new section of the Eastern Trail in Arundel where it crosses the Kennebunk River with a new bridge. The trail is part of the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway.

Read the full article online here.

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Lighthouse pedal pusher Cyclist organizes a lighthouse ride to raise money for the Eastern Trail

By DEIRDRE FLEMING - March 15, 2010

phot of Bob BowkerCAPE ELIZABETH: Bob Bowker pointed at two lighthouses that sat back from the lush vegetation some distance from the park named for them on the Cape Elizabeth peninsula.

At one time, they were used by mariners to help navigate into Portland Harbor, he explained. ''They would line up the two lights,'' he said.

And just as Bowker offered this impromptu history lesson about Two Lights State Park, a motorist with a Maine license plate pulled up and asked the cyclist for directions to Portland Head Light farther up the coast.

Bowker obliged, but quickly added with a wave to Cape Elizabeth Light east and west: ''There are two lighthouses right there.''

As the creator of the Maine Lighthouse Ride, Bowker is a bit of an advocate for lighthouses. The charity ride, which will be held for the fifth year Sept. 13, winds by five lighthouses and within view of three others that sit offshore: Wood Island Light, Ram Island Ledge Light and Halfway Rock Light.

Read the full article online here

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Bicycle and Pedestrian Trails in Maine: A Guide to Maine’s MultiUse Connections (Summer 2010)

bikepedreportBackground: This report provides a listing of Maine Bicycle and Pedestrian Shared Use Trails in Maine, including the Eastern Trail. This report is divided into two sections. The first section lists the bicycle and pedestrian connections that are for nonmotorized uses only. They generally have improved surfaces of either asphalt or stone dust The second section includes Shared Use Paths which also allow ATV’s. All of these trails have been built with partnerships at the local, state, and federal level. They are all open to the public and are built to connect neighborhoods, villages, business areas and towns. This report is meant to be a general outline of bicycle and pedestrian offroad opportunities in Maine.

Walking and Bicycling Trails:

  • Acadia Carriage Roads (Mt Desert Island)
  • Androscoggin River Bicycle and Pedestrian Path (Brunswick)
  • Auburn Riverwalk (Lewiston, Auburn)
  • Beth Condon Pathway (Yarmouth)
  • Bethel Pathway (Bethel)
  • Collins Pond Pathway (Caribou)
  • Calais Waterfront Walkway (Calais)
  • Eastern Trail (Kittery, Old Orchard Beach, Scarborough, South Portland)
  • Foundry Road Path (Livermore Falls)
  • Kennebec River Rail Trail (Augusta, Hallowell, Farmington, Gardiner)
  • Lisbon Trails (Lisbon)
  • Mountain Division Trail (Windham, Gorham, Standish)
  • Mousam Way Bike Path (Sanford)
  • Narrow Gauge Pathway (Carrabassett Valley)
  • Portland Trails – Back Cove/ Eastern Promenade/Bayside Trails (Portland)
  • Presque Isle Bicycle and Pedestrian Walkway (Presque Isle)
  • Sipayik Trail (Perry)
  • South Portland Greenbelt (South Portland)
  • University of Maine Bicycle Path (Old Town, Orono)
  • Westbrook River Walk (Westbrook)

Shared Use Paths: Motorized and NonMotorized Use:

  • Aroostook Valley Rail Trail (Washburn, Van Buren)
  • Down East Sunrise Trail (Ayers Junction to Ellsworth)
  • Four Season Adventure Trail (Newport to DoverFoxcroft)
  • Greenville Junction to Shirley Mills Rail Trail (Greenville Junction)
  • Lagrange Rail Trail (LagrangeMedford)
  • PattenSherman MultiUse Trail (Patten)
  • Sanford Rail Trail (Sanford)
  • Solon/Bingham (Solon to Bingham)
  • Southern Bangor and Aroostook Trail (Houlton, Phair Junction)
  • St. John Valley Heritage Trail (Fort Kent)
  • Turner Bike Path (Turner)
  • Whistle Stop Trail (Jay, Farmington)

Read the full report here.

Eastern Trail Management District Newsletter - January 2009

The Eastern Trail Management District (ETMD) is a group of representatives from each Eastern Trail town that manages the construction and upkeep of the trail. Below is ETMD's January 2009 newsletter:

Maine Ranks as Third Most Bike-Friendly State (2009)

Press Release - Bicycle Coalition of Maine

Augusta – Maine is the third most bike-friendly state in the country, the League of American Bicyclists announced Wednesday.  This is the second year in a row that Maine has held that ranking, based on a League survey covering legislation, enforcement, education and encouragement, policies and programs, infrastructure, evaluation and planning.

The League released the state rankings during National Bike to Work Week.  The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is joining with several other organizations to host a Maine Bike to Work Day celebration on May 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lobsterman Park (corner of Temple and Spring Streets) in downtown Portland.

The League survey rated Maine first in the country in infrastructure.  During the past year, Maine’s network of shared-use paths has expanded rapidly with the opening of the first sections of the Down East Sunrise Trail and the Maine Mountain Division Trail.  More than 60 miles of additional shared-use paths will be built this summer as part of those two projects and the Eastern Trail in York County.

“I’m very pleased that Maine is being recognized at this level for the second year in a row, and especially pleased that the League ranked Maine number one in infrastructure,” said MaineDOT Commissioner David Cole. “We continue to make real progress on a balanced, multimodal system that will meet the varied transportation needs of Maine people.”

Read the full article online here

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has been working since 1992 to make Maine a better place to bicycle.  The coalition advocates for Maine cyclists at the Legislature and in Washington, D.C., teaches bicycle safety to thousands of Maine schoolchildren each year, partners with state agencies on a Share the Road media campaign and serves as a resource on local bicycling issues.

October 2008 Newsletter - Eastern Trail Alliance

Can Trails Reduce Rail Trespass Fatalities? by John Andrews (revised 4 April 2006)

by John Andrews  (revised 4 April 2006)

Each year we suffer 500 rail corridor trespass fatalities in these United States. According to Pamela Caldwell Foggin, Federal Railroad Administration, these fatalities do not include fatalities caused by vehicles passing rail gates, nor do these 500 fatalities include suicides. 

image of handout titled Can Trails Make Rails Safer? According to Betsy Goodrich, New England Office of Rail-to-Trails Conservancy, there are 142,000 miles of active rail corridor in the United States. This means 500 fatalities per year per 142,000 miles. Or one trespass fatality for each 284 mile-years. 

Using data provided by Mia Birk, senior author of Rail-with-Trails, Lessons Learned, we learn that we have 4,400 mile-years of rail-with-trail (RWT) experience in the United States. 

If trails do not increase the danger, then we can expect one rail trespass fatality for every 284 miles per year, then 4,400 mile-year should result in 15 RWT trespass fatalities since the first RWT was opened. If trails increase the risk of pedestrian fatalities, then we might expect many more fatalities. Maybe a ten-fold increase or 150 fatalities in 40 years? 

But, have we experienced 150 RWT fatalities? Have we experiences even 15 fatalities? No. In the entire United States, there has never been one RWT fatality. 

My probability professor would not give me a failing grade, if I claimed adding trails to rail corridors reduced pedestrian fatalities by 25-to-one. 

When I first looked at my math, I felt my math must be wrong. Einstein once told an acquaintance, “If your math does not match your common sense, check your math.” I've asked many people to check my math. Many have rejected my conclusion, but no one has questioned my math.

Click here to view my math tables

Assuming the conclusion it valid, or even close to reality, how do we explain it? This troubled me for months after I first ran the numbers and looked at the result. It now makes sense, at least to me. 

Whenever people trespass in rail corridors, the walking is generally awful but usually easiest on the rails or rail ties. So kids walk on the rail ties or rails. College students leaving a pub may choose to walk an unlit rail corridor to return to their dorm. Hunters seeking game walk the rails. But, if a well-engineered trail existed beside the tracks, most would apparently choose the easier path. Therefore, it does make sense to me that adding a trail to a rail corridor could reduce fatalities by as much as 25-to-1. 

Click here to view Maine Landowner Liability Immunity information


Common wisdom in the rail industry has been that anytime a person enters a rail corridor the risk of a fatality increases. It's obvious to experienced railroad employees that adding a trail and inviting public access should increase the fatalities. Claiming that it will save lives? Crazy! Reading Steven D. Levitt's Freakonomics inspired me to look at existing rail fatality data. Why? Because in his book he demonstrates that common wisdom is often wrong. 


Craig Della Penna, well known RWT advocate, asks the rhetorical question: “Could a railroad be successfully sued if it had refused to allow a RWT where subsequently a trespass fatality occurred?” A NYC attorney with railroad litigation experience is interested in the question. 

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