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$700,000 in recently secured federal funding will help expand the Eastern Trail 11 miles south.
On Friday, Kennebunk Town Manager Mike Pardue joined Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and members from the Eastern Trail Alliance and the East Coast Greenway Alliance in celebrating $700,000 in new federal funding to expand the Eastern Trail with an event at the Eastern Trail trailhead in Kennebunk.
The funding, secured by Pingree in the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Bill will expand the Eastern Trail 11 miles from Kennebunk to North Berwick, supporting the development of an active transportation corridor and recreational trail that offers significant social, economic, and environmental benefits.
“The Eastern Trail is tremendously popular with the residents and visitors of Kennebunk. The $700,000 in new federal funding, is sure to foster increased economic growth and outdoor recreation for Kennebunk and the region,” said Kennebunk Town Manager Mike Pardue.
The Eastern Trail is the Southern Maine portion of the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway that traverses the East Coast between Calais, Maine and Key West, Florida. Based on a 2021 economic impact analysis, there are 250,000 people using the trail annually, and each user spends an average of $118 per day. The trail also supports 364 jobs across the state, $12.5 million in earnings and $32.1 million in sales, with most sales coming from overnight lodging, food and drink, and retail items.
When complete, Blaze the Trail South will add 25 miles resulting in 25 miles of off-road trail connecting 7 communities from Kennebunk to Kittery in one of the most densely populated regions in the state (York County). This will provide a safe and convenient facility for bicycle commuters, recreational riders, walkers, runners, and wheelchair users for transportation, health, and outdoor enjoyment.
“With this federal funding, Maine’s southern communities will be connected with a new, 11-mile stretch of off-road trail, supporting local economies and fostering a safe and sustainable route through some of Maine’s most populated areas,” said Congresswoman Pingree.
“The expansion of trail south towards our goal of getting to the Maine New Hampshire border will provide a significant investment in off-road trails in Southern Maine,” said Jon Kachmar, Eastern Trail Executive Director.
“This funding is a major step towards completing the Eastern Trail and East Coast Greenway in southern Maine, which will expand economic development, outdoor recreation and equitable active transportation opportunities in the region” said Kristine Keeney, East Coast Greenway Alliance Northern New England Manager. “I am excited to continue to work alongside the Eastern Trail and other local partners to complete the East Coast Greenway in Maine."
View the Blaze the Trail South map.