Close the Gap

Help Eastern Trail Close the GapSEPTEMBER 2021 CLOSE THE GAP UPDATE

Thank you to everyone who has provided financial and other support for the Close the Gap campaign to build the new section of Eastern Trail between Scarborough and South Portland, which will link the Black Point area of Scarborough to Wainwright Field in South Portland. Also, thank you for your unwavering patience as this project is particularly complex regarding the acquisition of land rights along the new section of trail.

All of the funds raised for the project are held in a dedicated fund within the Town of Scarborough. The roughly $560,000 raised in private funds through the Eastern Trail Alliance has leveraged an additional $5.5M in state and federal transportation funding. As a reminder of the complexity of the project, there are two bridges, one over the Nonesuch River and a second larger bridge over the rail yard just south of Pleasant Hill Rd. The larger bridge will be roughly 210 feet long! There are also 4 additional water crossings that range between 14ft and 28ft to minimize impacts to wetlands and ensure the trail is safe for users.

The project is planned to go out to bid this fall (2021), and it is anticipated the project with take between 18 and 24 months to complete. The Town of Scarborough will put the project for construction bids to select a contractor who will build the future Eastern Trail along the Gap section.

Thank you again for your continued support and patience as we Close the Gap. Please feel free to contact the Eastern Trail Executive Director, Jon Kachmar, if you have additional questions or other thoughts as we value your input.

Our partner at the University of New England, Dr. Noah Perlut, has been assessing the use of the trail by various wildlife for the past few years. If you are interested to see wildlife that use the area as habitat now, you can visit The Gap Tracks Project online here. Dr. Perlut will then research wildlife usage after the trail is built to better understand how trails impact wildlife in the vicinity. Thank you, Noah!

Hope to see you on the trail!


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