Portland Press Herald, Letters, Posted August 26, 2016
It’s summer on the coast of Maine, and there’s no better time of year to appreciate the value of the Eastern Trail.
For those who aren’t already frequent users, the Eastern Trail system traverses 65 miles between Kittery and South Portland. It’s part of the larger East Coast Greenway that aims to connect Maine to Florida – a trail project that has been in the national headlines recently, including features by Conde Nast and the Huffington Post.
In Scarborough, the Eastern Trail is an incredibly valuable asset that is used by a wide cross-section of our population, from residents to tourists. They can view the state’s largest salt marsh, watch birds or ride the trail corridor, and the number of trail users is increasing annually.
Given how valuable the Eastern Trail is to our residents, visitors, economy and overall quality of life, the town of Scarborough – in partnership with the Eastern Trail Alliance, Bicycle Coalition of Maine and Maine Department of Transportation – has been working tirelessly to design and fund a plan that would close the final 1.6-mile gap in the trail and provide an off-road linkage of the Eastern Trail in Scarborough to the Greenbelt Trail in South Portland.
This linkage would be the capstone on the Eastern Trail in this area and would create a continuous 16 miles of off-road trail corridor from Bug Light in South Portland all the way to downtown Saco.
At this point, Scarborough, South Portland and our regional and state transportation agencies (the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System and MDOT) have generously collaborated to commit $3 million of the $3.6 million needed to complete this regionally significant project. This leaves about $600,000 in necessary funding for which we are seeking donations in order to close this critical gap.
Help us make our section of the East Coast Greenway a reality.