Published online by the Portland Press Herald, 2/24/2017 | by Melanie Creamer, Staff Writer
The director of the Eastern Trail Alliance says that without Andrews' efforts, the 65-mile trail from Kittery to South Portland wouldn't exist.
John Andrews, known as the founder of the Eastern Trail and a leader of the Appalachian Mountain Club, died on Monday. He was 79.
Andrews started the Eastern Trail Alliance in 1997 and was the driving force behind the creation of the 65-mile, multi-use trail that extends from Kittery to South Portland. In 2012, the alliance dedicated a pedestrian bridge over Route 1 in Saco to Andrews.
“Without John’s unbelievable energy, enthusiasm, there simply would not be an Eastern Trail today,” said Carole Brush, executive director for the Eastern Trail Alliance.
Andrews is credited with securing funds to complete sections of the trail in the Kennebunks, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, and the trail’s most iconic portion, through the Scarborough Marsh.
Brush said he was persistent, but patient, and made tremendous progress in a short amount of time.
“His enthusiasm was contagious,” Brush said. “He would talk to anyone and everyone sharing his mission, engaging and convincing them to participate. John could work miracles. When times were tough and things were moving slow, he never let up and truly lived his motto of ‘Patience, persistence and politeness’ to overcome obstacles, move forward with this trail, and make the world a better place.”
In December, Town & Country Federal Credit Union donated $100,000 toward filling 1.6-mile gap in the Eastern Trail running through Scarborough. The alliance still needs roughly $600,000 to complete the section. Work on the pathway is expected to begin in 2018. When the section is complete, it will have 16 miles of continuous, off-road access from Bug Light in South Portland to downtown Saco.