BTLT is so proud to have been a partner in this important effort to connect Maine’s communities with multi-use recreational corridors.
The Maine Trails Coalition (MTC) has released a plan for a statewide network of multi-use rail trails. Read the press release below:
The Maine Trails Coalition (MTC) today released for public discussion its preliminary vision for a statewide network of multi-use rail trails. While a work in progress, Maine Rail-Trail Plan 2020-2030 calls for the construction of thirteen specific rail-trail projects over the next decade, and at least five prospective projects for development over the following decade. Each of these projects connects with and extends existing multi-use trails and creates regional connections between communities across the state.
Also included in the Maine Rail-Trail Plan are the results of a public poll, commissioned last year by the Maine Trails Coalition, indicating that 86 percent of Mainers favor creating recreational trails on unused rail corridors, if the trails could be converted back to railroad use if needed. This high level of support was consistent across north (88%), south (85%), central (84%), and coastal (86%) regions; and among Democrats (87%), Republicans (83%), and Independents (88%).
With the elevated importance of emission-free transportation alternatives, socially distanced outdoor recreation, and public health more generally, the need for trails, including long-distance interconnected regional trails, has heightened urgency.
In addition to their public health, environmental, and community benefits, regional trail systems provide a multifold return on investment in the form of local economic impact and tourism. They perfectly complement Maine’s established reputation for superlative outdoor recreation.
The Maine Rail-Trail Plan also calls for the continuing preservation and maintenance of a separate and active rail corridor that can be used to extend future Amtrak, commuter train, and/or freight service from Boston through Maine’s largest population centers. The plan illustrates that the most important inter-urban corridors do not require a choice between trains and trails; that there are alternate routes that allow for both. Multi-use trails and transit are complementary parts of a complete transportation network.
This initial release of Maine Rail-Trail Plan 2020-2030 is a first step in envisioning the possibilities for a statewide network of multi-use trails that can connect residents to community assets, open space, employment, transit, and other destinations including schools and health care facilities. This vision also seeks to capitalize on Maine’s brand as an outdoor recreation destination by creating opportunities for adventure tourism that attracts visitors to rural and urban Main Streets and businesses.
It is a living document that the Maine Trails Coalition plans to refine over time in consultation with local communities, regional authorities, state agencies, and the many interest groups concerned with rails and trails throughout Maine.
We have attached a copy of Maine Rail-Trail Plan 2020-2030 for your review. We would appreciate your thoughts and recommendations on the plan and would welcome your support for the vision it describes.
To follow along and read more, visit MTC HERE.