Connecting the Maine Communities of Topsham, Bowdoinham, Richmond and Gardiner
This feasibility study examined the development of a multi-use rail with trail along the State-owned railroad, as well as a number of alternate routes. This study does not recommend specific routes, but highlights the possibilities for further consideration by the involved individuals and communities.
If the Merrymeeting Trail were constructed along the east side of the railroad corridor it would provide wonderful views of the Kennebec River, Merrymeeting Bay and other streams, woodlands and wetlands. However, it may prove to be challenging to obtain the requisite environmental permits from the regulatory agencies and it would be very costly to construct. The high construction costs and the potential difficulties obtaining permits from the regulatory agencies place the feasibility of the continuous rail-with-trail concept into question, and thus alternative solutions were explored.
The alternate trail solutions that were presented in this feasibility study provide lower cost solutions with reduced environmental impacts. In many instances the alternate routes provide their own unique trail experiences that include inviting views and unique natural settings.
It is estimated that the alternate routes could reduce the overall project construction costs by as much as 28 million dollars. This is accomplished by avoiding the worst of the challenging rail-with-trail sections. If built this trail would be accessible to a region of Maine where nearly half of its population resides and as described in Appendix A has the characteristics necessary to qualify it as a trail of statewide significance.
This feasibility study is intended to help the communities and various stakeholders define their priorities and select the preferred Merrymeeting Trail options that will be advanced in subsequent phases of project development.
Published June 14, 2011
The Sheepskin Trail, a rail-trail project is a proposed 34 mile bicycle/pedestrian path that will extend from Dunbar Township to Point Marion Borough at the Pennsylvania/West Virginia state line. The intent of this study update is to utilize and update the 1999 Feasibility Study as necessary based on changes to the trail corridor that have occurred in the past 18 years.
This plan establishes the purpose and need for action to develop the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge opened on April 13, 2019.
The purpose of this study is to present options for the development of a recreational and economic resource for the Adirondack region between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake.