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The Merrymeeting Trail is a proposed 25-mile walking and biking trail connecting Gardiner, Richmond, Bowdoinham, and Topsham. In all, over 80,000 people live in the communities served by the proposed Trail. The Trail would be built along an existing rail corridor that has sat almost entirely unused for 30 years.
Each year that passes with that corridor unused is a missed opportunity to bring a wide range of benefits to this region. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in Maine generates $8.2 billion in consumer spending annually. In addition to the 70 percent of Mainers who participate in outdoor activities, much of this spending comes from visitors to the state. Trails connect downtowns, and in turn connect those visitors and their dollars to local businesses.
Trails make communities healthier, providing safe transportation alternatives and scenic places to get outdoors. The fact that older adults, parents, teens, and toddlers share trails underscores how trails strengthen the social fabric of communities. Building the Merrymeeting Trail would also provide a way for everyone to experience the splendor of the Kennebec River and Merrymeeting Bay.
This route has been designated a “Trail of Statewide Significance” by the Maine Department of Transportation because of its unique qualities and assets. In addition to linking the very popular Kennebec River Rail Trail in Augusta and the Androscoggin River Bicycle and Pedestrian Path in Brunswick, it would also become part of the East Coast Greenway, a developing 3,000-mile traffic-separated bicycling and walking path connecting communities from Maine to Florida.
Please begin the process of creating the Merrymeeting Trail along this unused corridor by passing LD 1141. Thank you.