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Recruiting new ET Board Members
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Applications Open for 2024 Board Member Recruitment

The Eastern Trail Alliance is recruiting new board members to join our board this year. If you are looking for a way to make a difference in southern Maine and have a passion for trails or active transportation, we’d like to hear from you!

Click here to access the board member application form. Please then complete it by the May 13, 2024 for full consideration. In particular, skills and experience sought include accounting/audit, fundraising, and previous board service. Given our active trail-building campaigns south of Kennebunk, residents of southern York County are encouraged to apply.

Before after picture of trail repairs
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Trail Conditions Update

Please be advised that due to recent storms, downed trees and debris can be found along the Eastern Trail.
Our Trail Manager, Patrick Conlon, has spent long days out on the trail clearing downed trees and branches, improving drainage systems, and cleaning up trash.
In Old Orchard Beach, about 300 yards north of the Saco-OOB town line, there was a very large tree completely blocking the trail. Patrick was able to move the tree to the edge of the trail. Nevertheless, please continue to use caution while cycling and walking in this area for the time being.
Thanks to Patrick’s tireless work the trail between Biddeford and Kennebunk is now clear and safe for cyclists and walkers alike. As weather permits, he will continue to attend to the Saco to Scarborough segment.
ET Connectivity Feasibility Study
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Berwicks to the Border Story Map Released

Led by the planning/engineering firm VHB, the Eastern Trail Alliance and Eastern Trail Management District in collaboration with the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission (SMPDC), MaineDOT and the municipalities of Kittery, Eliot, York, South Berwick, and North Berwick are proud to release the Eastern Trail Connectivity Feasibility Study Story Map.

This story map will allow you to see information about the initial feasibility study currently underway in the Berwicks to the Border Project, considering locations for future segments of the Eastern Trail between North Berwick and Memorial Bridge in Kittery. The different types of potential route alternatives may include shared-use paths along utility corridors, shared-use paths alongside a public road, boardwalk segments over wetlands and small streams, striped bike lanes or wide shoulders on roadways, and travel lanes shared by all users on rural roads with low traffic volumes and/or speeds. The detailed information is tied to geographic information which gives the public a view of both where and how these preliminary route alternatives may be used.

This 18-month study began in late 2023 and is expected to finish in early 2025. The ultimate goal is to recommend a route for a continuous off-road trail from North Berwick to Kittery. From there, the Eastern Trail Alliance, SMPDC, and individual municipalities will seek additional funding through grants and other sources to implement the priority recommendations from the study.

To learn more, please go here to visit the Story Map.

Additionally, an Eastern Trail Connectivity Study Community Workshop will be held on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at Eliot Town Hall, 1333 State Road, Eliot, ME or via this Zoom link.

Latest News

John Andrews Memorial Eastern Trail 5K – June 1

John Andrews Memorial 5k LogoJune 1, 2024   9: 00 AM

23 Mill Brook Road
(Maine Molecular at Mill Brook Industrial Park)
Saco, ME US 04072

Come join us for a great event to honor the Founder of the Eastern Trail.

register now buttonThe John Andrews 5K is a signature fundraising event of the Eastern Trail Alliance, a nonprofit that builds, maintains, and promotes the Eastern Trail. Join us on Saturday, June 1, 2024 for a timed 3.1 mile trail run or walk along the scenic Eastern Trail followed by an awards ceremony to celebrate and acknowledge the top finishers. The race begins and ends in the Mill Brook Industrial Park (Saco, ME) with ample parking at Maine Molecular. Registration fee is $25 per person, $30 day of the race. All participants will receive one free beer or glass of wine when they show their race bib at O’Reilly’s Cure Restaurant & Bar on the day of the race. Register on or before May 1 to receive a free race t-shirt.
Oreillys Cure

$25 per person, $30 day of race

The John Andrews 5K is a signature fundraising event of the Eastern Trail Alliance, a nonprofit that builds, maintains, and promotes the Eastern Trail.
Chelsey Berlin
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Meet Chelsey Berlin, Our New Executive Director

Greetings!

I am honored to introduce myself as the new Executive Director of the Eastern Trail Alliance. I join the organization with over fifteen years of experience working in global nonprofits. A hallmark of my career has been addressing the universal importance of a place to seek refuge. We all need refuge, for reasons as varied as personal safety and psycho-social well-being. Public access to nature close to home provides a break from busy lives, a place to connect with friends and family, and a means of safe and climate-conscious transportation, recreation, and fitness.

My commitment to trails and to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is drawn from lived experience. The Eastern Trail did not exist when I was a child, growing up in Old Orchard Beach. It was only as an adult living away that I came to understand and value how trails can be a part of our everyday lives. Since the Eastern Trail was born, I have seen firsthand how it has bettered the lives of my family, friends, and community.

So please allow me to start my tenure at the Eastern Trail Alliance by thanking all of you. Thank you for the contributions you gave most recently as we closed out 2023. Thank you for all the years you have renewed your membership dues. Thank you for believing in this trail when it was just a sparkle in our founder John Andrews’ eye. Thank you for being part of our community and of our ongoing vision to complete an off-road trail that extends from Bug Light in South Portland to the Piscataqua River in Kittery. Every dollar counts. Every trail visit betters us all.

I look forward to meeting you on and off the trail. Scroll down to learn more about our trail-building campaigns and upcoming events.

Thank you,

Chelsea Berlin Signature

Chelsey Berlin
Executive Director, Eastern Trail Alliance

Maine Lighthouse Ride logo
Latest News

Registration Open for the 2024 Maine Lighthouse Ride!

Registration is now open for our biggest event of the year, which will take place Saturday, September 7th.

Join us to explore the scenic trails and unforgettable lighthouses that make coastal Maine a fantastic place to live and visit. Finish strong and proud knowing that all proceeds benefit the Eastern Tail Alliance, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that builds, maintains, and promotes the Eastern Trail, southern Maine’s premier multi-use greenway.

Register today and help ensure the ongoing maintenance and development of the Eastern Trail. Let’s create lasting memories and a positive impact on Maine for generations to come!

Sign Up Today!

Proceeds Benefit the Eastern TrailGo here to see pictures from the 2023 ride.

Go here to read a news account of the 2023 ride.

Latest News

Local Spotlight: Patrick Conlon (Our Own Trail Program Manager!)

Saco Bay News | Randy Seaver, Contributing Writer | Mon, Nov 06, 2023

A pedestrian was struck and killed by a motorist on Spring Street in Saco last week. Just a few months before that tragic accident, another pedestrian was struck and killed near the intersection of Water and Main streets in Saco.

These tragedies underscore Patrick Conlon’s hope that both Biddeford and Saco will become the first communities in Maine to adopt the Vision Zero initiative. Vision Zero is a global program that began in Sweden as is now sweeping across many communities in the United States. The goal of Vision Zero is to improve safety and to eliminate traffic deaths: a vision for zero traffic deaths.

Conlon, 62, moved to Biddeford from New Jersey a few years ago. He discovered the area while visiting his wife’s family in the Ocean Park area several years ago. “The more I looked around, the more I liked this area,” he said. “I really liked the vibe I felt while biking along Main Street in Biddeford.”

For many years, Conlon worked in the publishing industry as a graphic artist for publications such as Rolling Stone magazine and the Wall Street Journal. Today, he works as the Trail Manager for the Eastern Trail, a connected series of hiking, biking and walking trails that extends from Kittery to Bug Light in South Portland.

Although nearly two-thirds of the 62-mile Eastern Trail runs along roadways, Conlon is hoping that the trail can be expanded over time and rely less on public roads and highways.

To say that Conlon is an avid bicyclist would be a gross understatement. Conlon literally rides his bike everywhere, describing himself as belonging to the “fearless” category of bicyclists.

Your job is to maintain several miles of trails between Kittery and South Portland, and you take your bike to work?

“Oh yeah. (Smiles) I bike whenever I can. I typically carry tools in my (rear-wheel bags) such as a folding rake, a chainsaw and pruning shears.”

The Eastern Trail is basically southern Maine’s portion of the much larger East Coast Greenway, right?

“Exactly, so the East Coast Greenway runs along the Eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine, and it continues along much of the Eastern Trail, all the way to Calais.

How did the Eastern Trail become a reality?

(Laughs) “Well, you can pretty much thank the beavers for the creation of the Eastern Trail. What many people don’t know is that the Eastern Trail pretty much follows on top of the underground right-of-way that belongs to Unitil, a gas and oil company. Previously, the right-of-way belonged to the Eastern Rail Line.

“Basically, many people used to hike along a section of that trail through the woods in Arundel. The gas company benefitted from having people keeping eyes on the trail. Well, one year the drainage ditches along the trail were flooded because of beavers building a dam.

“We went in to fix the problem and ever since, we have had co-access to the trail. So, it was the beavers that made us realize that a lot of people enjoyed the trail and that it could benefit from some routine maintenance.”

You’re a champion of creating more bicycle lanes in the Biddeford-Saco area. What’s the stumbling block to making that happen?

“Actually, we just have to decide to make it a reality. We’re making some progress, but we have a long way to go. It’s one of those things that challenges the status-quo. We have to be able to step back and see the much larger picture. We can do it incrementally.

“Every time we repave a section of road, why not mark off a lane on that roadway? If it’s too narrow, maybe just widen the road a bit. We’re already there. Already spending money to fix the road, why not add a bike lane?”

You say more bike lanes will encourage more people to ride bicycles and reduce traffic problems.

“That’s right. As it is now, there are many areas where it’s just not safe to ride a bike. Basically, there are three categories of bicyclists. The first category is the ‘fearless’ group. That’s the category I fit into. We basically will ride our bikes anywhere, even along major roadways such as Rte. 111 and outer Route One. The second category is the people who will likely never ride a bike, regardless of what we do. The third category, which I believe is the largest group, is made of people who are interested in biking as alternative transportation, but they find current traffic patterns to be daunting.”

It’s not uncommon to hear motorists complain about bicyclists not following the rules of the road.

I understand those complaints and concerns. Unfortunately, some cyclists don’t follow the rules of the road and that can create dangerous situations. I believe we should be teaching bicycle safety and regulations in school.

“There are so many benefits to cycling. You have better health outcomes; reduce carbon emissions and you actually improve local economies. We, especially in the United States, live in a society that has been basically indoctrinated with the belief that cars should be the de-facto mode of transportation.

“Again, I think we need to step back and look at the bigger picture. You always have the option of shopping more frequently and buying fewer groceries with each trip. People who live in more urban areas tend to shop that way. We have to be willing to re-examine our priorities.”

You say the city of Saco is a step ahead of Biddeford in creating a plan to encourage bicycling and walking.

“I would like to see Biddeford commission a master bike plan so that we can start planning for the future in a more cohesive way. Just having it on paper would be a huge first step. And we should look at both cities together.

“You have to start somewhere, and right now we’re not really doing anything. We need a guide to get us where we want to be. Saco has already established a Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee. We need to follow their lead and join forces with them. I strongly, so strongly, support creating a better connection between the two cities for both pedestrians and bicyclists.

“As our populations increases, our traffic is going to increase. We absolutely need to look at ways to improve our traffic and make public safety a top priority.”

You can read the full article online here.

What Does the ET mean to You?2U
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What Does the Eastern Trail Mean to You? Please take our survey

Dear Eastern Trail Enthusiast,

Every community along the Eastern Trail is an important part of our mission, and your voice matters! The Eastern Trail Alliance wants to hear what you think about us and how we can better fulfill our mission.

Can you spare a few minutes to share your thoughts on how important the trail is to you and your top priorities? Your input will help us to shape a brighter future for the Eastern Trail and continue to develop this fantastic resource in Southern Maine.

TAKE THE SURVEY

Thanks for being part of our journey!

Sincerely,

Randi Hogan, ETA Board President signature

Randi Hogan
President, Board of Trustees
Eastern Trail Alliance

https://www.easterntrail.org/