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

Trail construction
Latest News

Eastern Trail Building Campaigns Update

ET Campaign Overview MapThe Eastern Trail has a tremendous amount of trail expansion work underway. This is all possible due to our amazing donors and staff at the Eastern Trail. We now have every mile between Bug Light and the Kittery border under some form of feasibility study, engineering design, or construction work. See  below for a list of this exciting work.

More detail on all of these campaigns can be viewed here.

Close the Gap – Scarborough to South Portland, 1.6 miles

  • Ready for construction
  • Construction bid Aug 30, 2023

Over the River – Biddeford/Saco, 3 miles

  • Feasibility complete, pending engineering design
  • Seeking engineering design funds

Blaze the Trail South – Kennebunk, Wells, N. Berwick, 11 miles

  • Feasibility complete, engineering funded
  • Engineering design bid Fall 2023

Berwicks to the Border – South Berwick, Eliot, York, and Kittery, 16 miles

  • Feasibility begins summer 2023
  • Feasibility completed 2025
Jim Munroe bench
Latest News

Trail Bench Installed to Honor Jim Munroe, longtime ET Advocate

Jim MunroeA new bench was recently installed in Scarborough near the Old Blue Point kiosk in honor of Jim Munroe, a dedicated trail advocate who passed away in April 2020. Jim was a long time member of the Eastern Trail Alliance board and left part of his estate to the Eastern Trail. The City of Saco, the Eastern Trail Alliance, and the trustees of Jim’s estate collaborated to place a bench at this location.

A small gathering was held June 5 to celebrate Jim Munroe’s generous donation to the Eastern Trail.

In addition to supporting the trail, Jim supported local musicians and donated his immense vintage rock and roll vinyl and posters to a young, aspiring DJ in the Saco/Bidd area.

You can read his obituary here.

Think of Jim and his generous support for the Eastern Trail when you pass or take a brief rest on his bench!

Jim Munroe bench
People gathered at the bench donated by Jim Munro
Eastern Trail parkrun in Biddeford
Latest News

Eastern Trail park run, Saturdays in Biddeford starting May 6

What is Eastern Trail parkrun, Biddeford? A free, fun, and friendly weekly 5k community event. Walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate – it’s up to you!

When is it? Every Saturday at 9:00 am.

Where is it? The event takes place in Biddeford on the Eastern Trail (accessible from the Southern Maine Health Care Hospital car park on Medical Center Drive). See Course page for more details.

What does it cost to join in? Nothing – it’s free! but please register before you first come along. No commitment – register once and then attend any event.

December 2023 marsh strom damage before and after pictures
Latest News

Update to Trail Damage in Scarborough Marsh From Recent Storm

We had significant damage to the trail in Scarborough Marsh during the December 23 storm.  Unitil’s underground natural gas line was nearly exposed and there were obstacles to avoid and eroded spots on the trail in the marsh.

Thank you to Until/Granite State Gas Transmission for its quick repair of the trail in Scarborough Marsh. The before and after photos show the extent of the damage and the quick repair work of our partners who manage the gas pipeline.

There may still be some sections of the trail in that area that need a bit of work, so please be careful when using this section of the trail!

Here are some additional photos of the damage:

Proposed New Bridget to Cross the Nonesuch River
Latest News

Final Trail Easement for Close the Gap Segment Completed

Great news!!

We have completed the final trail easement for the Close the Gap segment, which allows up to move forward with construction.

We anticipate that the Close the Gap project connecting Scarborough and South Portland will be ready to go out to construction bidding by January 30, 2023.

Please remember this project will take 18-24 months to complete, but we plan to get started soon!

(image shows the future crossing of the Nonesuch River in Scarborough headed towards Wainwright Fields in South Portland)

Here are some local news reports of this exciting news:

The Eastern Trail to “Close the Gap” between South Portland and Scarborough with connecting expansion (Portland Press Herald)

Eastern Trail completes final trail easement between Scarborough and South Portland (News Center Maine)

Bench near Scarborough Marsh
Latest News

Bench Improvement on the trail near the Scarborough Marsh

Bench being improved near Scarborough MarshSpecial thanks to Boy Scout Ben Shields of Troop 47 in Scarborough for his work in updating five benches along the trail in the Scarborough Marsh area. Ben led the effort and worked alongside his father, Scout Master James Shields, Eastern Trail’s Patrick Conlon, and other scouts.

The work involved five benches on the trail in the Scarborough Marsh and just north of the marsh. Three of the benches received some new boards and a coat of water proofing wood treatment. The other two benches were in bad shape and were completely replaced with new ones hand made by Ben.

Great effort all – THANKS!

Jon Kachmar, executive director of the Eastern Trail Alliance, stands on a culvert at West Brook that runs under the next phase of the off-road trail expansion.
Latest News

Work on the Eastern Trail could expand rapidly in the coming decade

It’s been 10 years since southern Maine’s signature off-road trail has expanded. But work in the next decade could connect existing trails and extend the Eastern Trail to North Berwick.


Jon Kachmar is working on the ultimate conservation juggling act: Getting three significant new sections built on the Eastern Trail in southern Maine.

Expansion of the trail – envisioned as a 50-mile, off-road trail upon completion – has stalled in the past decade, but Kachmar believes the Eastern Trail Alliance has a shot at completing another 15.7 miles of the trail in the next 10 years. That would extend it to 37 miles, and connect three different existing sections.

“There will definitely be momentum moving forward,” said Kachmar, executive director of the Eastern Trail Alliance. “There’s no doubt about it. It is a unique time. Right now there is an unprecedented amount of federal money for infrastructure for things that will benefit the public. We fit a lot of those qualifications for that money. I’m pretty optimistic.”

The Eastern Trail is the southern Maine section of the proposed 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway envisioned to link Key West, Florida, to Calais via off-road trails. In the past 20 years, 20.9 miles of the trail have been built in Maine across three sections from South Portland to West Kennebunk.

Read the entire article online here.

Latest News

The Eastern Trail Now Has a Twitter Account

The Eastern Trail recently created a Twitter account.

Our official Twitter “Handle” is @EasternTrail.

Include hashtags to link your tweet to a larger conversation. Hashtags related to the Eastern Trail are limitless. Use #easterntrail, and maybe some others such as #trailmoments, #biking, #outside, #southernmaine, #closethegap.

View the Eastern Trail Twitter account.

So go to your Twitter account and follow us, and add to the conversation by sharing your experiences, pictures, thoughts, ideas, appreciation, and love of the Eastern Trail.


Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Latest News

Maine’s Eastern Trail Earns National Recognition

PORTLAND (WGME) – Maine’s Eastern Trail system is getting some national recognition.

Friday, Rails to Trails Conservancy, the nation’s largest trail advocacy organization, welcomed Maine’s Eastern Trail into the “Rail Trail Hall of Fame.”

According to an economic impact study, the trail brings more than $44 million into Maine’s economy each year and employs more than 300 people around the state.

“This is something that people can use to commute to work on, to run errands on and to have an option to be mobile without having to rely on a car or to put themselves out on one of our busy streets on a bicycle,” James Tasse of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine said.

The Eastern Trail is more than 65 miles long, running from Kittery to South Portland, and 16 additional miles are under construction.

You can read the story with video online here.

You can view related news coverage of the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony:


Eastern Trail in South Portland
Latest News

Maine’s Eastern Trail joins Rail-Trail Hall of Fame

It’s one of 36 Hall of Fame Trails across the country, and one of only four in New England.

By Diane Bair and Pamela Wright | Globe Correspondent | Updated September 7, 2022, 10:06 a.m.

An hour ago, we were battling the crazy traffic on Route 1 and the crowds in Kennebunkport, Maine. And now? Now we’re paused on the Eastern Trail overlooking beautiful Scarborough Marsh. It’s low tide, and we watch as egrets feed in the narrow channels that snake through the expansive salt marsh, and shorebirds gather in shallow pools. It’s quiet, peaceful, and worlds away from the bustle.

Such is the beauty of Maine’s Eastern Trail, a 65-mile Rails-to-Trails on- and off-road route in southern Maine, running from South Portland to Kittery. Recently, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy inducted the Eastern Trail into its Rail-Trail Hall of Fame, recognizing its scenic, historic, and community value. It’s one of 36 Hall of Fame Trails across the country, and one of only four in New England. The other New England Hall of Famers are the Island Line Rail Trail in Vermont, the East Bay Bicycle Path in Rhode Island, and the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway in Massachusetts.

“The Eastern Trail is one of the premier recreational assets in the region and provides a valuable alternative for those seeking more active recreation,” says Paul Schumacher, executive director of the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission.

The Eastern Trail, following portions of the rail route built by the Eastern Railroad in the 1840s to connect Boston to Portland, is also part of two multistate trail systems: the developing 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway, connecting trails along the Eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida, and the New England Rail-Trail Network, linking Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

“We call it the great connector,” says Claire Polfus with Maine Trail Finder. “It connects neighborhoods, communities, and trail systems.”

And interest in the trail has skyrocketed. “Since the pandemic began, the Eastern Trail page on Maine Trail Finder has surged into the top 10 most viewed on the site, an indicator of how important close-to-home trails have become,” Polfus says.

“The Eastern Trail is quintessential Maine, and one of the most beautiful sections of the entire 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway,” says Kristine Keeney, Northern New England manager with the East Coast Greenway Alliance. “The combination of the beautiful salt marsh, birds, and the smell of the saltwater is special.”

The 24-mile northern section from Kennebunk to South Portland is the most popular portion of the trail because most of it is off-road; it drew nearly 250,000 bike and pedestrian users in 2021. The 41-mile southern portion is on public roads with trail signs directing the way.

We like to start in Kennebunk, biking the trail south to north. First up is a section through pretty Arundel, passing farms and open fields. “It’s my favorite part of the trail,” says Schumacher. “This rural setting is getting increasingly hard to find along the southern coast of Maine.”

It’s a great beginning, a quiet stretch of woodsy path before heading into Biddeford. In Biddeford, the trail goes on road, with a few off-road sections. Though we’ve only been riding a short while, we’ll often pedal into downtown Biddeford to grab doughnuts or butter cookies from Reilly’s Bakery. Properly fueled, we’ll pedal out to Scarborough Marsh, one of the most scenic spots on the Eastern Trail. This off-road section overlooks the 3,000-acre protected estuary, the largest in Maine. This is a great place to linger, watching for shorebirds, and taking in the views. “The Scarborough Marsh is just one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been on a bike,” says Keeney.

Unfortunately, it’s back on the road from Scarborough into South Portland. But work is currently underway to remedy this; the Close the Gap project would fill in a 1.6-mile section with off-road trail that would connect Scarborough with South Portland. It’s one of several campaigns to improve the Eastern Trail, others include the Over the River campaign, focusing on 3 miles through downtown Biddeford and Saco; the Blaze the Trail South campaign concentrating on the 17 miles of current on-road trail between Kennebunk and South Berwick, and the Berwicks to the Border campaign, focusing on the 11-mile section from South Berwick to the New Hampshire border.

For now, we’re content to pedal Highland Avenue into South Portland, where the trail goes off-road again near the Wainwright Athletic Complex. We love the water views, crossing over Fore River, with views of Casco Bay Bridge. The northern terminus of Eastern Trail ends at a beautiful, 8.78-acre waterfront park, a popular picnic and kite-flying spot. It’s also home to Bug Light, an 1875 lighthouse nicknamed for its small size. We’ve biked about 30 miles at this point and in our best-case scenarios, we’ve coaxed friends to come pick us up with the promise of burgers and beers in Portland.

Read the entire article on-line here.

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