Archive for category: Trails

BTLT in the News, “FOXCS advocates for local Nordic skiing”

FOXCS advocates for local Nordic skiing

Dylan Sloan, Bowdoin Orient

February 28, 2020

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is so excited to be working with Friends of Cross-Country Skiing (FOXCS) who are focused on improving trails and information about cross-country skiing to our community.

For years, Nordic skiing options around campus have been slim. Students looking for groomed trails could either drive half an hour to Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, where Bowdoin’s varsity team practices, or try their luck at a few groomed snowmobile trails slightly closer to campus. But, in the past few months, Friends of Cross-Country Skiing (FOXCS), a local community-based organization acting as an arm of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, has been advocating for improved recreational Nordic skiing facilities right here in town—and the group has been rapidly gaining support.

Before FOXCS, the recreational Nordic skiing community in the Brunswick-Topsham area was not formalized and was limited in its scope. Although residents have made efforts to improve local conditions, there was no formal movement to petition for more trails in town and build a sense of community amongst local skiers.

“There [were] definitely a lot of people who [had] been thinking about [forming a group] for years,” said Bowdoin Nordic skiing Head Coach Nathan Alsobrook, who has been involved with FOXCS from the beginning. “Now [that] we’re starting to talk about this and coordinate more, [we’re attracting people] who might not have known anything about this previously.”

The inspiration for FOXCS came from the confluence of a number of factors. Earlier this winter, Brunswick’s Mere Creek Golf Club, a popular spot for local skiers, decided to stop allowing use of its property for skiing. Even though there was no real formalized community of recreational skiers, the backlash to Mere Creek’s decision was strong.

“People got really upset, and they wrote to the Town Council,” said Kathy Thorson, a nurse practitioner at the Bowdoin Health Center and an executive committee member of FOXCS. “The town councillors said, ‘We have never, ever had so many people come and talk to us about any issue.’”

The energetic community action in support of cross-country skiing came at the perfect moment for Thorson, who had been thinking about how to start a more formalized skiing community in town.

“We happen to be sort of positioned perfectly to go, ‘Oh, look at all these people that are interested in cross country skiing!’ And they would all say, ‘I wrote to my town councilor, because I’m really upset.’ And then I would be able to write back and say, ‘Hi, there’s this new group!’” said Thorson.

The final phase of the group’s evolution came when it became officially affiliated with the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT), a local nonprofit, at the end of last year.

“[We] fit exactly with their mission,” said Thorson. “So they actually turned to us really early on. We went to the Land Trust and said, ‘What do you think?’ And they said, ‘Oh, you’re perfect. We’ve been wanting to do something like this for so long’ …  and so we became an advisory group.”

To read the whole article, click here.

BTLT in the News, “Topsham receives $31.5K grant for improvements at Cathance River park”

Topsham receives $31.5K grant for improvements at Cathance River park

Alex Lear, The Forecaster

February 19, 2020

We’re so excited for the improvements in the works at Head of Tide Park in Topsham. Alex Lear covered some recent developments that we’d love to share!

The town plans this summer to improve parking and build a hand-carry boat launch at Head of Tide Park, thanks in part to a $31,500 state grant.

The project is estimated to cost about $66,000, which would include labor and materials, design and permitting, and a 10% construction and materials contingency. Town Planner Rod Melanson said he hopes to pare down the cost.

The 12-acre Cathance River park, at 235 Cathance Road, is town-owned and stewarded by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. It has a 15-foot waterfall at the river’s highest tidal reach, hand-carry boat access on either side of the falls, a trailhead that connects to more than 7 miles of trails and picnic and parking areas.

Informational signs explain the history of the site, where a sawmill operated 300 years ago, followed by a feldspar mill.

Improvements to the parking lot, across the street from the park, include moving the entrance so it faces the park entrance. The boat launch would be built down the banking from the lot.

Topsham last year had sought $55,000, which was available through the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands’ Boating Facilities Fund, and had planned a $73,000 project.

To read the whole article, click here.

BTLT in the News, “Brunswick using public input to update bike-ped improvement plan”

Brunswick using public input to update bike-ped improvement plan

Alex Lear, The Forecaster

January 22, 2020


Despite a storm that shut down many town operations Jan. 27, about 25 stalwart residents braved the elements to attend the second of four public input sessions geared toward helping the town update its Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Plan.

The first meeting, held Jan. 8, covered Brunswick’s downtown, schools, Pleasant Street, Bowdoin College and surrounding neighborhoods. Last week’s meeting delved into rural roads and trails. Brunswick Landing and Cook’s Corner will be the focus of the third gathering at Southern Maine Community College at Brunswick Landing, 29 Sewall St., at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27.

The meetings will culminate at 5 p.m. Feb. 27 with a town-wide meeting at Brunswick Town Hall, 85 Union St., at which Town Planner Jared Woolston plans to discuss the feedback culled about the areas of town that need safety and access improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as parts they already enjoy.

To read the whole article, click here.