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Full moon over Scarborough March
Latest News

JOIN THE EASTERN TRAIL FULL MOON WALK – NEXT IS 10/31

Join the Eastern Trail for a full moon walk in Scarborough Marsh. The walks will leave from the Pine Point parking area. Groups will be limited in size to 15 people and masks/social distancing is required. You must register to participate – go here to register online.

Saturday, Oct. 31          6:00-7:00PM    (Beaver Moon)
Monday, Nov. 30           6:00-7:00PM   (Cold Moon)

Contact 207-284-9260 or patti@easterntrail.org

No flashlights or pets, please

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 31 to November 28 this year.

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

2020-21 Maine Hunting Quick Reference Guide
Summary of Maine Hunting Laws 2020-2021

 

Latest News

The Maine Lighthouse Experience 2020 was a huge success!

This Year, the Maine Lighthouse Ride was the Maine Lighthouse Experience 2020. It was held September 5-12, 2020, and participants chose their own path, distance, and experience.

Thanks to all for joining us to support the Eastern Trail by participating in the Maine Lighthouse Experience. We LOVED the photos participants shared with us. Many were able to get out on the trail, but others also walked, ran or rode their bikes in their neighborhoods, on the roads and around lighthouses, both in and out of state!

Congratulations to the following raffle prize winners:

  • $100 gift card to TRADER JOES- Aaron Quinn
  • $100 gift card to TRADER JOES- Althea Latady
  • $200 gift card to Gorham Bike – Arnie MacDonald
  • Oil Painting- Carol McAllister
  • Quilt- Kelly Whetstone
  • Old Marsh Golf gift card – Bob Brandt
  • Higgins Beach Inn gift card – Gretchen Martin
  • Cottage Breeze Beach Tote – Laurie Bassett

A huge thank you to all of our sponsors for their support of the Maine Lighthouse Experience and the Eastern Trail:

  • Anthem
  • Blais Civil Engineers
  • Bowker & Associates
  • Clean Harbors
  • Credere Associates
  • Hancock Lumber
  • Kennebunk Savings Bank
  • Martin’s Point Health Care
  • Mitchell Tardy Jackson
  • North Dam Mills
  • Oakhurst
  • People’s Choice Bank
  • Saco & Biddeford Savings Bank
  • Town & Country FCU
  • Woodman Edmands Danylik Austin Smith & Jacques, PA
  • York Hospital
  • Whole Foods

Again, many thanks for supporting the Eastern Trail. We truly hope 2021 brings the return of 1,000 riders for the Maine Lighthouse Ride!

Latest News

ET Share the Trail Shirts – Back by popular demand!

As part of a special time-limited fundraiser for the Eastern Trail, you can once again order t-shirts and pullover hoodies with a special “Share the Trail” design.

Shirts are available as custom t-shirts (including long sleeve tees) as well as sweatshirt pullover hoodies, and are available in all sizes.

Go here to Order a shirt to support the Eastern Trail!

This offer is for a limited time only. Proceeds will benefit the Eastern Trail Alliance.

Carole Brush on the Eastern Trail
Latest News

Managing Maine’s Popular Trails: New Challenges

[Ed. Note. One of the three women this article features is our own Carole Brush, the Executive Director of the Eastern Trail Management District. Carole’s story appears last in the article]

Maine Women Magazine July 2020 |  By R. Cook

Kristine Keeney, Carrie Kinne, and Carole Brush are three Maine women who find themselves in an unexpected position that presents great opportunity and enormous challenges, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The three women manage three of Maine’s most popular trail networks from northern Maine to York County. The trails are being used by record numbers of people who crave outdoor recreation as an escape from the daily stress and anxiety generated by the coronavirus. But those record numbers also present difficult challenges to ensure everyone’s safety in the new normal of social distancing.

Kristine never thought she would ever see a situation like the one that has unfolded across the state. She serves as the New England coordinator of the East Coast Greenway Alliance. The 32-year-old lives in Greenwood near Bethel in the Western Maine mountains and is looking forward to marrying her fiancé, Jake. She originally hails from the New Haven, Connecticut, area, but Maine has always held a special place in her heart.

“I started coming to Maine in 2008 or so. It was actually for skiing in a ski club at Sunday River,” Kristine recalls. When she attended graduate school in 2013, she was living in Portland and commuting to Boston via the Downeaster. Her goal was to become the city’s bicycle coordinator.

She worked in that role for a few years and increased the bicycle network by creating more bicycle parking at a time when bicyclists wanted to have more freedom to share the road with motor vehicle traffic. “I was always into bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure.” She later accepted a planner position in Vermont for three towns near the Sugarbush Ski Resort area. She worked on a lot of trail projects in the Green Mountain State, mapped out trails for the whole region, and created user-friendly map kiosks. In July 2018, Kristine moved back to Maine when her present job was available.

She now oversees a trail network that extends from Calais to Rhode Island as part of a system that extends from Maine all the way to Key West, Florida. Maine has 340 miles, and the New Hampshire Seacoast has 17 miles, followed by another 145 miles in Massachusetts and 50 miles in Rhode Island.

In her role, Kristine works with smaller Maine trail groups like the Kennebec Estuary in Bath and the Eastern Trail Alliance in Saco that have direct management over their specific trail systems. Kristine helps them work with regional planners, local governments, and utility companies to design trails, maintain existing trail standards, and add new trails. Kristine spends a great deal of time advocating for trail funding in Augusta and keeps her trail part ners updated on important rule changes such as the COVID-19 guidelines issued by Gov. Janet Mills and
the Maine Centers for Disease Control.

Kristine is an avid biker herself. “I fell in love with it because of the flexibility and convenience, as well as the health benefits.” Biking can also help people enjoy a physical, outdoor activity while maintaining proper social distancing from others. “Biking is a great option to distance yourself from other people as well as having a great outlet for physical and mental health.”

She sees this new attention paid to biking as one of the strange benefits wrought by the current pandemic. After years of advocating for increased funding for trail networks throughout Maine and New England and spreading awareness about the health and environmental benefits of increased bicycle transportation, Kristine is seeing more people gravitate toward these causes. For example, trail use has tripled on Portland’s popular Back Cove Trail from March 2019 to March 2020, from 325 users per day to more than 1,000 daily users because of COVID-19, and that number will more than likely continue to climb as summer approaches.

As this trend unfolded, Kristine and other trail network managers were scrambling to educate trail users about the importance of social distancing. They want people to be mindful of the parking lots, for instance. If the lots are full, come back another day to use the trail, or pick a day when the weather is not as perfect, when fewer people will venture out.

“It’s a type of moving target when it comes to best practices,” Kristine said.

Maine trails are getting overwhelmed because, Kristine explains, there are more people from other communities who are traveling to different cities and towns to access those trails. Some communities have closed trail parking lots to traffic to limit access to hikers and bicyclists. When the state closed beaches and state coastal parks, that put more pressure on the existing trail network.

“It’s a situation that honestly none of us thought we would find ourselves in,” she said.

For Carrie Kinne, the executive director of the Kennebec Estuary, she and her volunteers already have their hands full striking the right balance between increased trail use and public health concerns. The Yarmouth resident oversees 30 miles of trails that include 12 preserves and 28 easements, including the latest one in Richmond.

Her trail network extends from Richmond down to West Bath and Dresden down to Georgetown. She said her group just celebrated its 30th anniversary. They have come a long way from the days when its founders were sitting around kitchen tables and first discussed protecting vast tracts of land to protect natural habitat and allow public enjoyment.

Carrie completely understands why so many people who may have never enjoyed the Kennebec Estuary’s trails are using them now. “There are things you think of when you think of Maine, like nature, the environment, and the landscape. If you are from Maine, you may take it for granted.”

Carrie is hopeful the trail scout program they started when COVID-19 really took off in Maine will pay dividends. The program allows people to share their observation about the trails. “It’s getting a lot of traction.” Trail scouts also report the activity they are seeing on the trail, as well as trail conditions, to serve as the estuary organization’s eyes. As a result, more people in the community feel vested and engaged in the Kennebec Estuary’s work.

Carrie said the estuary’s corps of volunteers will make sure the trails are nice and wide to accommodate the growing number of users they will see this summer. “There are going to be
busy times, but ultimately you try to get the message out there as best you can,” Carrie said. “There should be ample space for everybody out there.”

Carrie has also been vested in Maine’s environment and its position as a leader in preserving public lands. She is originally from Farmingdale and spent a great deal of her career in the healthcare industry before she joined the Kennebec Estuary. “Out of all the non-profit work that I’ve done, this is incredibly rewarding.”

Carrie has been married to Jack for 20 years and the couple have four stepchildren and seven grandchildren, all under age nine. The kids love exploring the trails as much as Carrie does.

Meanwhile, the situation in southern Maine could be more complex for Carole Brush. As the executive director of the Eastern Trail Management District in Saco since 2007, Carole has already seen trails like Scarborough Marsh get overwhelmed with users to the point where social distancing was impossible. Carole said a survey showed the number of Scarborough Marsh trail users increased from 4,000 in April 2019 to 12,000 this April. In May 2019, they saw 7,000 people use the same trail compared to a projected 21,000 people this May.

“Maybe the big benefit of all this is that people are getting out more and exercising more and are really taking advantage of what we have,” Carole believes. “The use of the trail has tripled from what it was a year ago.” In some ways, it’s a nice problem to have for trail advocates who are always looking for ways to extoll the trail network’s benefits. But like her colleagues Kristine and Carrie, Carole could never have foreseen a situation like this unfolding in 2020.

She has been with the Eastern Trail Management District (EMTD) since 2007. She wanted to live in Maine to be close to her family and become an Audubon Society registered guide for the Scarborough Marsh. Since her earliest years growing up in New Jersey, Carole has had a love affair with nature.

“From the time I was a child, going out to nature was always my go-to place,” she said. “Maybe the big benefit of all this is that people are getting out more and exercising more and are really taking advantage of what we have.” Carole studied land conservation when she attended Ramapo College in New Jersey and ended up splitting her time between Boulder, Colorado, and New York State for the next 10 years. “It was a pretty tough commute, but it was worth it.”

In New York, Carole led hikes and taught fitness classes at the Mohawk Preserve and the Mohawk Mountain House in the Hudson Valley region. Carole has five grandchildren and has been single for quite a while. “My work is a big part of my passion, to be out there on the trails and keep conserving land for trails.”

Carole said her volunteers will continue to post signage and utilize social media to spread the word about the importance of social distancing so everyone can enjoy the trails. They will also have trail ambassadors to guide people to stay six feet apart. More importantly, the public’s willingness to comply with the new normal will ensure the trails remain open.

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic dominates their attention, Carole said the ETMD is still working on three projects to expand and improve the existing trail network. One involves creating a 1.6-mile link between South Portland and Scarborough. The other two projects involve a three-mile stretch to connect Thornton Academy in Saco to Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford and an 18-mile stretch from Kennebunk near Alewives Road south all the way to South Berwick. The work to maintain and expand existing trail networks and to educate the public about how best they can enjoy them now is an ongoing process.

“It takes a village or several to build a trail,” Carole observes. It may also take several villages to keep the trails safe and accessible this summer and beyond.

Latest News

Press Release – Eastern Trail Hires New Executive Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Tad Redway, V.P. of the Eastern Trail Management District, (207) 985-4201 X108 and townplanner@arundelmaine.org
Bob Hamblen, President of the Eastern Trail Alliance, 207-294-2962 and bhamble1@maine.rr.com.

******************************************************************
Eastern Trail Hires New Executive Director

Biddeford – The Board of Directors of the Eastern Trail Alliance and the Eastern Trail Management District announced this week the hiring of Jon Kachmar as its next Executive Director.
Mr. Kachmar has extensive experience that includes working closely with government agencies, municipal officials, and business and nonprofit leaders across New England focused on the triple bottom line benefits—environmental, social and economic wins.

“My introduction to Jon came nearly twenty years ago when he led an effort that resulted in the “Saco Bay Management Plan,” a blueprint for the communities of Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, Saco and Scarborough to aid in managing their coastal resources,” said Bob Hamblen, president of the Eastern Trail Alliance. “Jon is a consummate professional with a great employment background and a love of the outdoors. We’re excited to welcome his assistance with the continued development of the Eastern Trail.”

Mr. Kachmar is equally excited about his new role. “I have observed first-hand how parks and trails can offer significant benefits to mental and physical well-being, environmental stewardship, sustainable tourism, and cultural vibrancy of communities. The Eastern Trail, and its connection to the East Coast Greenway, is a shining example of the magic that can happen when people and nature are matched up to provide mutual benefits.”

The mission of the Eastern Trail Alliance is to build, maintain, and promote the use of the Eastern Trail, a recreation and transportation greenway from Casco Bay to the Piscataqua River in Kittery, Maine. We do this by inspiring individuals and private and public organizations to partner with us to support this incomparable resource.

The Eastern Trail Management District is a 501(c) non-profit organization comprised of member municipalities designed to oversee and coordinate the construction and management of the Eastern Trail.

Jon Kachmar
Latest News

Eastern Trail hires new executive director

BDN Maine Community News| Post Date: June 5, 2020

BIDDEFORD — The board of directors of the Eastern Trail Alliance and the Eastern Trail Management District announced this week the hiring of Jon Kachmar as its next executive director.

Kachmar has extensive experience that includes working closely with government agencies, municipal officials and business and nonprofit leaders across New England focused on the triple bottom line benefits — environmental, social and economic wins.

“My introduction to Jon came nearly 20 years ago when he led an effort that resulted in the “Saco Bay Management Plan,” a blueprint for the communities of Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, Saco and Scarborough to aid in managing their coastal resources,” said Bob Hamblen, president of the Eastern Trail Alliance. “Jon is a consummate professional with a great employment background and a love of the outdoors. We’re excited to welcome his assistance with the continued development of the Eastern Trail.”

Kachmar is equally excited about his new role. “I have observed first-hand how parks and trails can offer significant benefits to mental and physical well-being, environmental stewardship, sustainable tourism, and cultural vibrancy of communities. The Eastern Trail, and its connection to the East Coast Greenway, is a shining example of the magic that can happen when people and nature are matched up to provide mutual benefits.”

 

Latest News

For cyclists, there may not be a better time to hit the road

[Eds. note: This article makes many references to the Eastern Tail Alliance’s Maine Lighthouse Ride and Bob Bowker, the founder of that ride and long time ETA Trustee and officer.]

Cycling advocates think a more bike-centric culture could take hold in Maine as a result of the pandemic.

By Deirdre Fleming, Staff Writer Maine Sunday Telegram. Published May 10, 2020

When Bob Bowker’s daughter, MacKenzie, asked for ideas on where to ride her bicycle in Maine this spring, he had an easy answer. Bowker, founder of the popular Maine Lighthouse Ride, suggested she try the southern portion of the 100-mile lighthouse route, where coastal views abound.

The expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean and rocky beaches in the Kennebunks delighted MacKenzie Bowker, a jewelry maker and bike tour guide.

“I’m trying to ride local,” MacKenzie Bowker said. “I wanted something along the water. It’s nice to have those views. (My boyfriend and I) took a couple of different roads just because they went closer to the water. There was slightly less traffic than normal. So we were able to cruise around and not have to worry about out-of-staters.”

Bowker is not alone in seeking out new bicycle routes at this time. Bike paths have been busy and crowded during the pandemic, so many cyclists are looking for other options, bike advocates say.

“I see a lot of riders out riding by themselves now,” said Victor Langelo, ride director for the Merrymeeting Wheelers Bicycle Club. “The group rides are not taking place, because it’s not socially responsible right now. But there are a lot of bikes on the roads.”

Resources are plentiful for cyclists wanting to explore new roadways…….

You can read the entire article online here

People on the Eastern Trail
Latest News

As the weather warms, land trusts struggle with crowds

Land trusts in southern Maine are determined to keep trails open, but managing crowds during the pandemic has been a struggle.

BY DEIRDRE FLEMING | STAFF WRITER

SCARBOROUGH — On a Sunday with temperatures nearing 60 degrees, runners, bikers and walkers on the popular Scarborough Marsh trail were out early in the morning last weekend. And they just kept coming.

By 10:30 a.m. birders Marion Sprague and Ian Doherty left their productive birding spot after two hours because of clusters of walkers who walked side by side, making it difficult to leave a 6-foot-wide berth when passing, as health and state officials have recommended people do in public to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

By 11:15 a.m., when Hannah Temple arrived at the trail to cap off her hour-long walk with her Labrador retriever – most of which she took through other “secret woods trails” and empty sidewalks to avoid crowds – the Scarborough Marsh trail was full at the northern entrance. The rail trail in places is as wide as 10 to 12 feet. But last Sunday morning, groups of cyclists, parents with strollers, and dog walkers frequently moved along the trail two to three abreast.

“I’m not going there. That’s way too many people,” said Temple, a nurse at The Cedars in Portland, speaking through her red-calico mask. “And nobody has masks on. If I had more masks, I’d hand them out.”

The Scarborough Marsh trail is part of the Eastern Trail, which allows for 22 miles of off-road hiking from Bug Light in South Portland to Kennebunk. Carole Brush, the executive director of the Eastern Trail Management District, said use along the Eastern Trail has been at least double or triple what it normally is at this time of year.

Read the entire article online here.

Go here for More Resources to Help with Safe Use of the Eastern Trail During the Covid-19 Virus

Latest News

SHARING THE TRAIL – Important Now More than Ever!

[Eds. note: We are passing along this excellent content from the League of American Bicyclists about trail sharing etiquette, so important now as we follow recommended safety provisions while recreating on the trail, especially social distancing.]

Since the path can be congested it’s important to follow the same rules as everyone else in order to have a safe and enjoyable time.

•    Be courteous
•    Know the rules of the trail you are using
•    Give a clear signal when passing
•    Be cautious and yield to crossing traffic
•    Always be predictable by riding in a straight line
•    If you are riding while it is dark, be sure to use lights
•    Only use half the width of the trail
•    Keep it clean