Latest News

Our archive of more in-depth news articles and reports (running back to the 1990’s) can be found here. You can also search for past articles using the search function in the left hand side column

Latest News

Second ET Feasibility Study – Online Public Meeting – Tuesday, November 30th

The municipalities of Biddeford and Saco, in cooperation with the Eastern Trail Alliance (ETA), Eastern Trail Management District (ETMD), Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) and VHB, is hosting a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at 6:00 pm as part of the Eastern Trail Feasibility Study within these municipalities. VHB is completing this study, which is part of a Public Partnership Initiative (PPI) between the Municipalities, the Eastern Trail, and MaineDOT. The PPI process encourages soliciting the valuable input of local residents, businesses, and other stakeholders to better understand the needs of the community.

The study’s purpose is to assess the feasibility of connecting the two existing Eastern Trail off-road segments between West Cole Road in Biddeford and Thornton Academy in Saco. The focus of this initial public meeting will be to identify the study area limits, review the existing conditions within the study area, and solicit input from the community to help guide the alternatives evaluation process and better understand local ideas or concerns.

A copy of the Study Area Map is available for viewing.

There are several ways to access the meeting, please see the information below for options:

This meeting is being conducted as a Zoom webinar.
When: November 30, 2021 6:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Eastern Trail Feasibility Study – Online Public Meeting

Please click to join the webinar: https://vhb.zoom.us/j/86024723047?pwd=NlBidDJlbW9tWjd3ejdnUEJic3lZdz09

Or, head to https://zoom.us/join and enter Webinar ID: 860 2472 3047; Passcode: 320072

Via one-tap mobile: US: +16465588656,,86024723047#

Via telephone: (646) 558-8656
Webinar ID: 860 2472 3047
Passcode: 320072

Walkers on an ET Full Moon Walk
Latest News

Next Full Moon Walk on the Trail – December 18

The Eastern Trail hosted full moon walks on the Scarborough Marsh will be held each month through the winter.

We will keep the total number of participants to 20 people, and ask that participants are vaccinated or where a mask. Thank you for your understanding.

The December Moon Walk will be held 4:30 – 6:00 pm. The walk leaves from the Pine Point parking area. Go here to Register (registration required). Contact 207-284-9260 or email patti@easterntrail.org. No flashlights or pets, please.

Visit our EVENTS page for information on other events.

Latest News

Blaze Orange – Be Safe on The Trail

Fall is here and with it comes hunting in Maine – Please be aware that hunting is permitted in Maine on many private and public lands — some in close proximity to the Eastern Trail and other local trails.

The discharge of firearms, bows or any other devices that launch a projectile is prohibited on the Trail, except in Scarborough Marsh where hunting is allowed according to the rules for the Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management area managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W).

During the weeks ahead, please take proper precaution by wearing blaze orange clothing and putting a blaze orange vest on your pet. Also, we suggest you wear a blaze orange hat as well and NOT use a white hat or white bike helmet.

Hunting season in Maine runs primarily from early September to mid-December. Deer season with firearms runs from October 30 to December 11 this year.

Here are two other websites with more information on hunting in Maine:

Maine 2021-22 Hunting Season Dates
Maine Hunting Laws and Rules 2021-2022

 

Office of Susan Collins
Latest News

Nearly $265 Million Secured for Maine in Appropriations Bills, including for the Eastern Trail

More than a third of the Maine projects totaling nearly $100 million were included in the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee bill she co-authors

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, announced today that she successfully secured more than $264,959,000 for 106 Maine projects located across the state in the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations bills that have been released by the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Of that amount, 37 of the projects totaling $99,246,000 were funded through the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, which Senator Collins co-leads as the Ranking Member.  The bills must still be voted upon by the full Senate and House.

The 106 requests submitted by Senator Collins will support projects by Maine’s state government, municipalities, and non-profits that will promote job creation and economic development, improve infrastructure, expand community resources for Mainers, and protect our environment.

Eastern Trail Engineering Design

Recipient: Eastern Trail Management District
Location: York County, ME
Amount: $700,000

Purpose: To undertake engineering design for a new 11-mile segment of the Eastern Trail that would connect to the southern terminus of an off-road trail in Kennebunk, through Wells and into North Berwick. The proposed project would support the development of an active transportation corridor and recreational trail that offers significant social, economic, and environmental benefits.

Read the full article online here.

Casco Bay Trail Alliance map
Latest News

Casco Bay Trail Alliance – Vision for the Eastern Trail’s Northern Terminus

What if the northern terminus of the Eastern Trail at Bug Light in South Portland allowed a trail user to continue north through Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth and beyond?

The Casco Bay Trail Alliance is focused on just such a vision, and you can view their efforts at: cascobaytrail.org.

Let them know you care about building more long-distance trails north of Portland, join their mailing list, and see how you might lend a hand to make this vision happen sooner rather than later.

John Andrews 5k logo
Latest News

Results from the John Andrews Memorial 5k Walk/Run

We had a great race on a beautiful day this past August 1 on the Eastern Trail in Saco.

Thank you to all who participated in this year’s John Andrews Memorial 5K. Because of your support, the Eastern Trail Alliance can continue to work on John’s vision for the Eastern Trail.

Congratulations to Jakob Saucier and Gretchen Speed, the overall male and female winners this year!

More information and full results can be found here!

End of the Eastern Trail at Bug Light
Latest News

The 10 Best Rail-Trails In America

[Eds. note: We recently came across another version of this article listing the Eastern Trail is one of ten best national rail-trails, and thought we should highlight this recognition once again. To read about the other nine, read the full article here.]

By Cindy Barks,  published January 14, 2020

It might be the ultimate example of repurposing: Since the 1960s, thousands of miles of old abandoned railroad lines have been converted into recreational trails.

Owing to their scenic locales and gentle grades, the Rails-to-Trails routes are perfect for an epic bike ride or a leisurely stroll. The routes offer dizzying variety: They run along the East and West Coasts, past mountains, across rivers and forests, and through bustling urban landscapes.

After hiking and biking rail-trails all over the country, I’ve found that not only do the routes provide an opportunity for exercise in splendid outdoor settings, but they also take me back to the heyday of train travel. I often imagine passengers gawking at gorgeous seaside and mountain scenes to the rhythmic sway and lonesome whistle of the train.

Today, every state in the nation has a roster of rail-trails. According to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, there are more than 2,100 rail trails in the United States, totaling 24,215 miles.

And hundreds more are in the works. Among them is the mammoth Great American Rail-Trail, which will run 3,700 miles from Washington State to Washington, D.C. Once complete, the trail will allow users to literally walk or bike across America on a seamless, scenic trail. The Great American Rail-Trail is currently more than half complete, with about 1,700 miles left to fill in.

Meanwhile, rail-trails are beloved amenities in communities all over the country. Here are 10 of the best.

3. Eastern Trail, Maine

Lighthouses, lobster rolls, and white-pine forests: These are just a few of the wonderful things you can experience along southern Maine’s Eastern Trail.

Running roughly from South Portland to Kennebunk and parallel to Maine’s Atlantic Coast, the 29-mile Eastern Trail takes in the charming towns of Saco, Biddeford, Scarborough, and Old Orchard Beach.

Nearly 22 miles of the trail follow off-road sections, but some sections feature on-road bike lanes.

Tip: Start your ride or hike at the northern end at the Bug Light Park Lighthouse (Portland Breakwater Light) in South Portland, where plenty of parking is available.

You can read the full article online here.

Eastern Trail Executive Director Jon Kachmar
Latest News

SMPDC processed 700 federal relief applications in 2020; Eastern Trail was one of them

SACO — With another round of Paycheck Protection Program grants and loans on tap, some York County nonprofits and businesses say it and various other federal COVID-19 relief programs have been a lifeline.

For local organizations like the Eastern Trail, the money received has been a big help. With fundraisers on the back burner in 2020, the nonprofit Eastern Trail experienced more than $100,000 in losses due to COVID-19, estimates Executive Director Jon Kachmar.

Kachmar said the Eastern Trail received $48,500 in federal funds.

“The funding we received was a ‘lifeline’ that will help us get back up and running,” he said. “We ended up in a good place with help from them at a time when outdoor recreation is more important than ever.”

In 2018, Kachmar said 250,000 people used the Eastern Trail. With data sources indicating the use of outdoor spaces and trails is three times more than usual, Kachmar estimated the 21-mile trail system had 750,000 users in 2020.

Bob Hamblen of the Eastern Trail Alliance that oversees trail operations, said without the grant the organization received, belt tightening would have been necessary.

“We are a volunteer-driven organization, and rather light on staff,” said Hamblen. Besides Kachmar, there is a part-time office manager, and the organization contracts about 10 hours a week for IT services. “Maintaining an office in the North Dam Mill and ensuring that obligations are met is about all we can or want to handle on an annual basis,” said Hamblen.

Absent the federal funding, Hamblen said he expects a cutback in hours would have been considered.

Read the entire article on-line here.

You can read a related story on-line here (WGMA Channel 13 news)

Latest News

Pandemic’s effects leave road project planners guessing what’s around the corner

By Edward D. Murphy | Posted January 25, 2021

Maine’s transportation planners are getting ready to work on construction and maintenance projects for 2021, but with a lot more questions than normal.

How will finances be affected by the coronavirus pandemic? Will traffic on Maine roads rebound as more people get vaccinated? When should the state Department of Transportation and its contractors schedule work to avoid inconveniencing commuters, residents and visitors?

The department has even coined a term for all the uncertainty: “business unusual.”

Maine Transportation Commissioner Bruce Van Note said his department had to be nimble to adjust to changes in 2020. Construction prices were originally so high that much of the work planned for last year was stretched out over two years.

Then, when the pandemic hit and traffic plummeted – often to half its normal level – the department found that it could change construction schedules to save money. Work done during the day is cheaper and usually more efficient, and some projects that were planned for the offseason could be done during warmer weather because the roads weren’t as clogged.

The pandemic even helped put a lid on construction price increases, and a drought allowed the department to stretch the construction season into the fall.

[Content removed from original article for spatial considerations]

Some of the major projects planned for 2021 mean that drivers in southern Maine can expect to see work on two bridges carrying traffic on Interstate 295 over Route 1 in Yarmouth, reconstruction of the Congress Square intersection in Portland, work on the Eastern Trail in Scarborough and improvements to the railroad siding and platform for Amtrak Downeaster rail service in Wells. Those four projects alone will cost more than $54 million.

You can read the entire article on-line here.

Latest News

Eastern Trail Alliance hosts full moon walk

The organization hosts a tour through Scarborough Marsh, providing information about the area and Eastern Trail.

BY CATHERINE BART  | SCARBOROUGH LEADER  | Posted

Carole Brush, former Eastern Trail Alliance executive director, leads a group of 15 or so people each month through the Scarborough Marsh portion of the trail. The group is able to see the full moon clearly and learn about the area and trail history. Catherine Bart photo

SCARBOROUGH — Because of the leap year, 2020 had one more full moon than usual, and a group of spectators gathered at Scarborough Marsh on the Eastern Trail to see.

On Dec. 29, the Eastern Trail Alliance staff, led by former Executive Director Carole Brush and joined by Jon Kachmar, the current executive director, hosted the last of 2020’s full moon walk events, where a small group of people walked through the marsh and saw the clear moon.

Brush said that the moon of that evening is commonly referred to as the Cold Moon. She also discussed the history of the trail and provided information about the section of trail through the Scarborough Marsh.

The Eastern Trail Alliance formed in 1998, but the Scarborough Marsh bridge and trail didn’t open until 2004, she said.

Eagle Scouts have often completed projects on the trails, Brush said, and one such project is in the creation of a bench that overlooks the marsh.

You can read the entire article online here.