State bureau announces $1.4 million in trail projects

Posted Feb. 13, 2009, at 9:34 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands announced on Friday a list of 31 state and 23 local trail projects with a combined value of more than $1.4 million.

The projects — including the reconstruction of a collapsed snowmobile bridge in Andover — are awaiting approval for federal funding in the next two weeks, according to bureau officials. The recipient organizations were notified last week.

“Maine’s recreational trails already are among some of the best in the country and offer all kinds of outdoor opportunities for Maine residents and visitors,” said Commissioner Patrick McGowan of the Maine Department of Conservation, which oversees the bureau. “These grants will help support and improve numerous trail projects around the state, which in turn will generate even more economic and recreational benefits.”

The total amount of funding is expected to be $1,466,847 from Federal Highway Administration funds by way of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

More federal money was available this year than in past years because of a change in the funding formula, said Mick Rogers, Bureau of Parks and Lands manager of community grants and recreation. The dedicated federal money can’t be used for any other projects.

Among the more notable projects, according to Rogers, is the $87,000 grant awarded to the Snow Valley Sno-Goers snowmobile club in Andover. The funds will be used to rebuild a 140-foot-long snowmobile suspension bridge that crossed the Ellis River in Andover and was part of Interconnecting Trail System 82.

The 30-year-old bridge constructed by the Maine Army National Guard collapsed in January 2008 and fell 16 feet into the river shortly after eight snowmobilers crossed it. Work already has begun on reinstalling the structure.

Also receiving a $10,000 grant are the town of Greenville and Greenville High School, which is building a 1-mile loop behind the school. The trail will used for educational purposes, hiking and cross-country skiing, and will be open for use by the community. Rogers called the project “a real grass-root effort.”

Another $103,000 grant is going to the Bradbury Mountain State Park-Pineland Land Unit for the connection between the state park in Pownal and the public land unit in New Gloucester. The new trail will include two bridges and trail improvements and will be available to the public for hiking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding.

Another $40,000 in grant money will be used to update Bureau of Parks and Lands trail brochures, which are available to the public. Maine has 260 state-owned and leased multiuse recreational trails. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife also is receiving funding to print landowner liability brochures.

Other local grants are going to: Bangor Land Trust; Maine Appalachian Club; Portland Trails; the town of Freeport; Monhegan; Sanford Kiwanis; town of Falmouth; the city of Waterville; MSAD 60; Appalachian Mountain Club; Maine Huts and Trails; Great Works Regional Land Trust; Portage Lakers; the town of Bethel; Blue Ridge Snowmobile Club; Great Pond Mountain Land Trust; the town of Minot; Androscoggin River Watershed Council; the town of Canton; Western Mountain Foothills; and the University of Maine at Orono.

Applications for the next round of trail grants will be available at the end of February, as will the application for the Land and Water Conservation grants. The forms will be available online. Rogers said he would work with applicants on their forms if their applications were received early.

For more information, call Rogers at 207-287-4962 or go to www.maine.gov/doc/parks/programs/community/index.html.

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