Close the Gap

Help Eastern Trail Close the GapAUGUST 2022 CLOSE THE GAP UPDATE

The Eastern Trial and its partners at the Town of Scarborough and Maine Department of Transportation continue to work on securing that final trail easement needed from a private landowner. The landowner has agreed to the terms of the easement that will allow access to build the new section of Eastern Trail connecting Scarborough and South Portland. The state/federal funds of $5.5M do not allow any construction until all trail easements are in place, and thus the construction has been delayed.

The current plan is to complete the needed trail easement by September 15, 2022, and then put the project out to construction bid this fall through the Town of Scarborough municipal bidding process. It is estimated that the construction will require 18-24 months to complete, and we are working to try and create some access out and back on new trail during the interim.

To anyone who provided private funds to support this work, please know that all public ($5.5M) and private ($600k) funds are held in a dedicated fund specifically set aside for the Gap trail construction work. While we know inflation is taking a toll on our savings, we have received additional public and private donations to cover most of the expected inflation.

Thank you to everyone for your support and patience for this exciting project to “close the Gap” between Scarborough and South Portland. Once it is built it will offer completely off-road trail between Bug Light in South Portland and Thornton Academy in Saco, including a 350ft pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the rail yard near Pleasant Hill Rd!

Hope to see you on the trail,

Jon Kachmar
Eastern Trail Alliance Executive Director



Past Press:


Eastern Trail completes $4.1 million ‘Close the Gap’ campaign (12/30/2017 Portland Press Herald article).

Eastern Trail Alliance Reaches $4.1 million Fundraising Goal (12/30/2017 U.S. News and World Report online article).

Thanks to all of our partners!! We could not have been this successful without every one of you. Bicycle Coalition of Maine, PACTS, Town of Scarborough, Maine, City of South Portland, Maine, Town & Country Federal Credit Union Maine and Maine Department of Transportation, to name just a few.


The Eastern Trail is a vital multi-use trail of state-wide significance in Maine. The trail extends 65 miles from South Portland to Kittery, and travels by scenic woods, tidal marshes, and classic Maine villages. Since its creation sixteen years ago, the trail has provided millions of people with a recreational and transportation resource that connects them to the beautiful Maine landscape.

Gap Map

Click on image to see larger view

But a key piece of trail is missing in Scarborough. A 1.6-mile “gap” interrupts off-road travel between South Portland and Saco. The construction of this critical trail segment, which includes two bridges will close this gap and provide 16 continuous off-road miles reaching from South Portland’s Bug Light to Downtown Saco. The cost to close this gap is $4.1 million dollars.

A formal fundraising campaign, “Close the Gap” has already raised $4 million toward the goal of $4.1 million. The Maine DOT views completing this segment as the “highest priority” trail project in the state, and has committed $2.05 million towards its completion.  In addition, the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS) has generously committed over $1.1 million towards the project. The balance of the funding for the project is being provided by generous individuals, as well as municipalities, corporate and non-profit partners, and in-kind services in the way of construction materials and labor. Can YOU help us??
Close the Gap Drone Video Nov 2016
To date, significant contributions have been received from:

  • Town of Scarborough, and the City of South Portland $287,000
  • Town and Country Federal Credit Union, $100,000
  • Eastern Trail Alliance, $100,000 ($50,000 to match $50,000 from private donors)
  • Caiazzo Family of Scarborough, $30,000
  • Thompson Family of South Portland, $26,000
  • WEX, $25,000
  • Quimby Family Foundation $25k
  • Avangrid, $25,000
  • IDEXX, $25,000
  • Morton Kelly Charitable Fund, $20,000
  • Davis Conservation Foundation, $10,000
  • Proceeds from John Andrews Memorial 5k, $14,000
  • Additional private donations of $81,850


Go here to view Press Coverage about the Campaign and Recent Donations

Go here to take a look at the future (simulated trail images) – see what your donation will create.

Go here to see helpful Close the Gap campaign resources that provide more details, images, and documents suitable for viewing and printing.

Go here for a one-page Fact Sheet and Summary about the Close the Gap Campaign.

Need to Cross the Nonesuch River

A Bridge is Needed Across the Nonesuch River!

Another view of the needed Nonesuch River Crossing

The needed bridge, viewed from the Nonesuch River level


Gap Map

Click on image to see larger view

Help Us Close this Gap


Chamber Donation

Tom Hall, Scarborough Town Manager is presented a check for $100,000 by Deb Erickson-Irons, ETA Pres. and Bob Bowker, ETA Vice Pres.

Chamber of Commerce Donations to CTG

ETA Officers receiving Scarborough Chamber of Commerce $1000 donation, and South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce $500 donation