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This week’s edition!

Guest column: Discovering the trails next door

By Jeffrey Ryan

South Portland Land Trust initiatives paying dividends:

A decade ago, the South Portland Land Trust (SPLT) organized a community meeting in the area near the Maine Mall. The group had recognized that while the east side of town was well served by pedestrian and bike friendly trails, the west side was lacking. That well-attended forum launched an initiative that has created several miles of trails to be enjoyed, including a popular 1-mile hike in the vicinity of Clarks Pond. While at first blush, a bustling area such as the Maine Mall wouldn’t seem to be a great location for trails, the SPLT found that there were still many stream side areas that had been spared from development that provide wonderful escapes for residents, visitors and employees of nearby businesses.

Downloadable Map:

To commemorate this year’s National Trails Day, June 6, the SPLT has created a downloadable map to the West End Trails. The map highlights the five trails the organization has created in the past fifteen years, including their newest trail, the South Branch Trail, a beautiful 1/2-mile walk along a stream next to the Clarks Pond cinema complex. The group has plans for additional trails and trail extensions and expects to make an exciting announcement soon. 

Trails Don’t Just Happen:

“The amount of progress we’ve made in the last decade could only have been achieved with community support. The National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program has provided an incredible boost, particularly Julie Isbill, from the Brunswick office, who has helped us with outreach and consensus building.”, says SPLT President, Richard Rottkov. “The trails play an important role in connecting neighborhoods, providing exercise for residents and area employees and keeping people connected with nature.”

The downloadable map is available at https://www.southportlandlandtrust.org/westendtrails.Jeffrey Ryan is a Maine-based hiker, photographer, public speaker and author of several books about the outdoors. Learn more at www.JeffRyanAuthor.com. 

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