TOPSHAM, Maine – Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is celebrating the installation of a new 60-foot-long pedestrian bridge on its Cathance River trail system after three years of planning and fundraising. Clay Brook bridge, as it has come to be known, connects two existing trail networks and creates 7 miles of linked trails in Topsham (see map). It will link the established trail network at Cathance River Nature Preserve to new trails (the Cathance River Trail) that traverse several parcels of privately owned land protected by easement and eventually connect to Head of Tide Park (HOT Park).
The Land Trust has been working for more than a decade to conserve lands along the Cathance River, a natural gem that feels remote despite its proximity to community centers. The installation of Clay Brook bridge connects multiple conservation lands and expands the public’s opportunity to experience different sections of the river. The trail system will take hikers from fast moving, class 4 rapids along the Cathance River Nature Preserve to slower moving sections above Head of Tide, culminating in the spectacular 15 foot waterfall at Head of Tide Park.
The Clay Brook Bridge project was made possible through the generosity and hard work of many community partners and took a number of years to bring to fruition. The bridge also highlights the incredible local talent that is present in our community in the areas of engineering and design, metal fabrication, and stone and earth work. The bridge was designed pro bono through the generosity of Stantec and engineer, Rick Shultz; the aluminum bridge was fabricated by metal worker, Dennis Weeks, of Bowdoinham; the site work, bridge abutments, and bridge installation were completed by local Topsham business, Linkel Construction. Linkel Construction has significant experience constructing seawalls, abutments and supports for coastal piers and docks, fish ladders, retaining walls, and other projects. The bridge location and material were researched by the land trust’s stewardship committee in an effort being led by Land Trust Volunteer Trail Supervisor Gary Fogg of Topsham. An aluminum bridge was selected for longevity and minimal maintenance requirements. The Land Trust is indebted to the private landowners on both sides of the bridge who generously donated conservation easements that allow the public to enjoy this riparian area forever. The foresight and support of these generous landowners – Jim Howard, owner of Priority Group of Topsham, and Seacoast Management, owners of Highland Green – made the Cathance River Preserve and Cathance River Trail possible.
The Clay Brook Bridge project, which connects the Preserve with the Cathance River Trail, was funded through the generous support of the Merrymeeting Bay Trust, L.L. Bean’s Maine Land Trust Grant Program, Fields Pond Foundation, Jim Howard, and the Land Trust’s more than 1,000 members.
All of the individuals involved in the planning, design, construction, and installation of the bridge will be present at the tour to answer questions.
Join us for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
When: Wednesday, October 16 @ 4:00pm
Where: 54 Beechwood Drive, Topsham, Maine
Full Media Kit available at www.btlt.org/news