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Recreational Trails Program featured projects

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The Recreational Trails Program funded a redecking project on the East Wilton trestle on the Whistle Stop Multi-Use Rail Trail.

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Bridge restoration on the Whistle Stop Trail, Maine

A Recreational Trails Program-funded project

photo of snowy trail through trees

Winter on the Whistle Stop Multi-Use Rail Trail, Maine

 

The Whistle Stop Multi-Use Rail Trail runs 14 miles from Jay to Farmington through rolling hills and rural farmland. The trail features several trestles spanning tree-lined rivers.

The state leased the right-of-way from the railroad for several years to keep the route open for snowmobiling, hiking, and bicycling. It is one of several old rail beds the State has ultimately purchased and turned into multi-purpose recreational trails, including three-season ATV use. Equestrians and cross-country skiers also enjoy the trail.

During the winter, Farmington’s Franklin Memorial Hospital provides shelter at a "warming yurt" along the trail. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are both permitted, as is snowmobiling.

Funding to purchase some of the open space along the rail corridor was provided by the Land for Maine’s Future Program. Established in 1987 when Maine voters approved a $35 million bond to purchase lands of state significance for recreation and conservation, the program also supports tourism opportunities with pedestrian and motorized trail networks, hunting and fishing access, and access to some of Maine’s most scenic locations.

 

Redecking project

A major trestle over Wilson Stream in East Wilton was rebuilt due to safety reasons and dry rot that had affected the structure. The state hired a contractor to facilitate the rebuilding process. The trestle treadway was made wider to accommodate the snowmobile groomers in the winter, as well as for horses and ATV riders.

The photos below show before and after pictures of the redecking project on the East Wilton trestle. This trestle is 350 feet long and is built on a curve. The project was completed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Parks and Lands, Off Road Recreational Vehicle Office, which provided the photos.

photo of big wood bridge photo of new deck and wood railings on bridge

Before and after replacing decking and railings on the East Wilton trestle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trail corridor has a very long history. It was originally acquired by the Androscoggin Railroad, chartered in 1848 to build a railroad from Leeds Junction to Farmington, Maine. The railway was completed to Livermore Falls in 1852, and to Farmington in 1859. Freight trains ran on the line until the late 1970s, when the tracks were removed.

 

Parking & Trail Access:

Farmington: The parking area for the trail is located at the end of Oak Street in West Farmington. On US Route 2 North in West Farmington, turn left onto Oak Street approximately 2 miles after the intersection of US Route 2 and Hannaford Drive. You will see a sign for the Whistle Stop Trail on US Route 2 before Oak Street. The trailhead can be accessed at the end of Oak Street.

Jay: The parking area for the trail is located on Old Jay Hill Road in Jay. On ME Route 4 North approximately 1.5 miles past the intersection of ME Route 4 and ME Route 140, turn right onto Old Jay Hill Road.

A map of the trail and vicinity is available at http://www.mainetrailfinder.com/trails/trail/whistle-stop-trail

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