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jandrewsshovelEastern Trail News Page - Current and Archive

Many articles about the Eastern Trail are organized on this news archives page.  The most recent articles appear immediately below, with the first part of each article displayed. Click on any article title, or the "Read More.." link to read the full text of that article. A list of additional article titles appears at the bottom of the page.



Alliance to celebrate with 31-mile event

Biking excursion will begin in Kennebunk, end in South Portland

By Adam Chabot, Staff Writer, Scarborough Leader

The Eastern Trail Alliance will host an event called Spring on the Trail May 18 as part of an initiative to showcase over 10 miles of new off-road sections of trail and two bridges completed over the past 18 months.

Spring on the Trail is a 31-mile bicycle trek from Kennebunk Elementary School to Bug Light Park in South Portland. At about 2 p.m. riders will stop at Thornton Academy for lunch before continuing their ride back to South Portland. Advance registration is required in order to participate.

“This is the first time we’ve done a oneway (event) like this, that showcases the off-road sections,” said Carole Brush, executive director of the Eastern Trail Alliance.


Eastern Trail bridge dedicated to founder

By LIZ GOTTHELF, Staff Writer
Published:Thursday, May 17, 2012 11:54 AM EDT

SACO — A ceremony was held Wednesday to celebrate the latest segment of the Eastern Trail – along with a surprise dedication ceremony to honor John Andrews, the man who helped make it all happen.

The “real focal point” of the new trail section is the pedestrian bridge that runs over Route 1 in Saco, said Bob Hamblen, Eastern Trail Alliance president and Saco’s city planner. Hamblen said he and other officials wanted to acknowledge the work and efforts of Andrews over the past 15 years by dedicating the bridge to him.

“Simply put, we wouldn’t be here today, and there wouldn’t be an Eastern Trail if it weren’t for John Andrews,” said Hamblen.


Pedestrian bridge dedicated to long-time trail leader (5/16/2012)

Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 1:44 pm

By Kate Irish Collins

John Andrews at bridge dedictation with his granddaughter, Iulia, 6. (Staff photo by Kate Irish Collins) John Andrews is a handy guy to have around, whether you’re planning new walking trails or trying to cut the ribbon for a section of trail already completed.

To honor Andrews for his vision, leadership and perseverance, on Wednesday morning, May 16, the Eastern Trail Alliance dedicated the new pedestrian bridge over Route 1 in Saco to Andrews.

“Simply put, there would be no Eastern Trail without John Andrews,” said Bob Hamblen, current president of the trails group and Saco’s planner.

The dedication, which was held at the trailhead behind Thornton Academy Middle School, was a surprise to Andrews, who for the past 15 years has pushed, prodded, begged and borrowed to get the off-road sections of the Eastern Trail built in the tri-town area.

Read the entire article online here

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Trail bridge dedicated to longtime Eastern Trail advocate

John R. Andrews bridge in SacoSACO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- John Andrews had a dream.  Sitting in a living room in Old Orchard Beach about 15 years ago, he shared his vision with other outdoor enthusiasts.  He wanted to help build a 65 mile off-road trail between South Portland and Kittery using the defunct Eastern Rail Line wherever possible.

"It is hard to believe.  All I wanted was a trail," stated Andrews, standing on a newly completed section of the trail.  "Many people told us we were crazy, they didn't want us to waste their time talking about it, but the vision caught on and it has exploded, it really has."


Walk in Saco to benefit homeless veterans

Updated: 1:25 pm, Wed May 9, 2012.

SACO - A 2K walk in Saco on May 16 is designed to raise awareness, support and funds for homeless veterans.

Sponsored by the local Veterans Administration, or VA, clinic, the walk will take place on the portion of the Eastern Trail that runs through downtown Saco.

Anyone can take part in the VA2K Walk + Roll, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Hannaford parking lot on Route 1. In fact, the VA facilities in Maine are specifically encouraging veteran service organizations, community members, active duty members and veterans of all ages to participate.

Read the entire article online here

Police monitoring makes trails safer for all users (5/3/2012)

Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012 12:06 PM EDT

While a rural walking trail can seem inviting on a beautiful day, there’s no denying that there is some risk involved in taking the “road less traveled.” Part of what gives trails their charm is the fact that they are removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and from the view of the general public. That means trails offer some privacy, and can therefore be a draw for those interested in illegal activities. It also means that if you find yourself in peril on a trail, there are fewer passersby to notice your distress.

Sanford resident Jennifer Copper found this out the hard way when a nice walk through the woods with her young twins turned into a painful ordeal after she slipped and broke her ankle.

Copper got lucky, however, since another trail walker happened by and was able to come to the rescue. Mike Laurendeau deserves kudos for carrying Copper out of the woods and lending her his cell phone so she could get in touch with family.

Those using the Eastern Trail in Biddeford, who might not be lucky enough to have someone like Laurendeau cross their path when they need help, can now take comfort in knowing that the police department is stepping in. Thanks to a recent grant, Biddeford Police have dedicated a bicycle patrol to the stretch of the Eastern Trail that goes through the city – making sure it doesn’t become a haven for hooligans and assuring trail users that the area is monitored so they won’t be without help for too long if something unfortunate should occur.

Biddeford has eight bicycle patrol officers who take turns patrolling the trail several times each day. So far, they say they’ve encountered no problems, but people “feel more safe” just knowing they’re out there. And that’s the key. If people feel comfortable enough to use the trail, it’ll become more popular; and if those with criminal intentions know that it’s monitored, the trails won’t become unsafe for families and singles who want to recreate there.

Read the entire article online here.

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Crosstown trail proposed for Old Orchard Beach (4/25/2012))

Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 2:21 pm

In order to take better advantage of a new section of the Eastern Trail, which runs off Cascade Road, the Conservation Commission in Old Orchard Beach is proposing the creation of a new cross-town trail that would connect the Eastern Trail to downtown.

OOB ConnectorThe plan, according to Ginger McMullin, chairwoman of the commission, would be for the cross-town trail to run from Memorial Park, up Staples Street, out to School Street to Dirigo Road, then follow Wild Dune Way to Ross Road and from there connect to the Eastern Trail.

During a meeting last week with interested residents, McMullin said there is a section of School Street, which is already off road and unpaved and which runs behind The Ballpark, that could be easily made usable for walkers and bikers and, for now, the rest of the trail would be on road.

Both McMullin and Pierre Bouthiller, another member of the Conservation Commission, also said there should be minimal expense to the town since the Public Works Department already has most of the materials needed and the manpower to make the cross-town trail a reality.

Read the entire article online here.

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March 2012 Eastern Trail News Tidbits

On this page you will find some shorter news items about the Eastern Trail that were filed in March 2012


  • The Sounds of the Eastern Trail

  • If you were out on the trail during the wonderful warm weather we had recently, you heard the magical sounds of spring in the air. If you missed it, click here to hear the sounds of the Eastern Trail (you'll need a 3g sound player). Thanks to Don Cote for recording and sharing!!

  • Eastern Trail closes, and then reopens!

  • For the first time ever, the Eastern Trail was closed due to wet trail conditions. On March 14, the following notice was posted on the Eastern Trail web site and its Facebook page:


Senate Transportation bill passes with trail funding

ETA note:  Coverage on this site of the federal Transportion bill, and what it might mean for trails and bicycling programs, started on February 13. This latest version of the report was updated March 14.

As some of you may have heard, there is a major legislative battle going on around the federal transportation bill. Many friends in the national bike advocacy groups have pulled out all the stops to get the Senate version of the bill passed containing provisions that help trails and bicycling programs. Click here for one news report on the bill's passage.

Many friends here in Maine were also active in contacting Maine's two Senators to urge their support for the bill. Click here to read the City of Saco's Resolution in Support of Transportation Enhancement, Recreational Trails and Safe Routes to School (passed Feb. 28, 2012)

THANK YOU very much for your efforts to help protect trail funding.

The Senate passed its version of the transportation bill on Wednesday, March 14.


Eastern Trail reconsiders horses

by Jeff LaGasse
Biddeford Journal Tribune
March 2, 2012

With the beginning of the spring season on the horizon, those who walk or ride on the Eastern Trail -- the epic walking and hiking trail that runs through several communities in Southern Maine -- will soon be witness to the sights that trail allows: Bicyclists cruising, families walking, and dogs wagging their tails.  What they may not see is the presence of horses on the trail.  That, it seems, has become a point of controversy. 

Read the full article (pdf format) here.

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