RRCT’s Rain or Shine Fund delivers free and better access to Maine’s outdoors for everyone. With your donations, RRCT is investing in wheelchair and mobility access at parks and preserves, reducing or eliminating the expenses of outdoor experiences for low-income populations, and keeping all RRCT programs free and welcoming to all. RRCT invites other organizations to create their own Rain or Shine Club, their own Rain or Shine Fund, or to join with RRCT to expand and collaborate.
We need your support. Sustaining and expanding our work requires new donations and your support. Thank you, in advance.
Please consider an online donation to RRCT’s Rain or Shine Fund, or send a check to RRCT, P.O. Box 90, Yarmouth, ME 04096.
The Rain or Shine Fund is delivering results. These initiatives require more funding to support them year-after-year, and to expand the impact.
Free programs, every week: RRCT’s free Rain or Shine Club and other free RRCT programs are central to our work to engage current and future generations. This five minute video describes the Rain or Shine Club from the perspective of one set of parents. Our free Get Out! Nature Walks are hosted jointly with the Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust. Our free monthly Royal River Film series (mid-year only) is hosted jointly with the Yarmouth Historical Society.
Free State Park passes at libraries: For the 2018 State Park season, RRCT and other organizations purchased and distributed dozens of Maine State Park passes that can be checked from a dozen libraries free of charge: Auburn Public Library (4), Gray Public Library (3), New Gloucester Public Library (3), Merrill Memorial Library (Yarmouth (2)); Freeport Community Library (2); Prince Memorial Library (Cumberland); Chebeague Island Library, Curtis Memorial Library (Brunswick), and more statewide. Participating land trusts and recreation organizations include Royal River Conservation Trust, Androscoggin Land Trust, Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, Freeport Conservation Trust, Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust, and the Friends of Maine State Parks.
Check with your local library about reserving the passes, or terms. Several libraries allow multi-day pass check-out.
The New Gloucester Public Library also manages the keys for the free canoes and kayaks and paddling gear that L.L. Bean donated at the Fairgrounds (Royal River) for pubic use as part of RRCT’s Royal River Water Trail project.
Any land trust, individual, or organization can add momentum to our initiative by buying Maine State Park passes (vehicle passes are best) and bringing them to your library of choice; fall pass purchases are good for the remainder of the year as well as the entirety of the following year. Bring this instructional PDF to the librarian with your donated pass. Please let RRCT know if you have added momentum to this library pass initiative, or if your land trust has created its own Rain or Shine Club or Fund.
- Auburn Public Library testimonial: “The passes were used a total of 90 times between April and September. I know that we have families who would never be able to experience our state parks if not for this donation.”
- New Gloucester Public Library comments: Having more than one pass allowed us to reserve them, and lend them daily or weekly, variably.
- Merrill Memorial Library testimonial: “The phone rang almost daily asking if the passes were available; we lent the passes for one week at a time.”
- Gray Public Library testimonial: “I’m certain that if we had been provided with more passes, they would have circulated and been used just as much as the other three were. By the end of summer, we couldn’t turn them around fast enough to meet people’s demands for them. Word gets around small towns like this, and by the end of summer everyone knew we had those passes.”
Wheelchair access & trail accessibility: RRCT 2018 Rain or Shine Fund resources are funding Maine State Parks improvements for wheelchair accessibility to the playground and picnic area at Bradbury Mountain State Park, leveraging equal matching funds from the state park system for a total $20,000 project cost; construction began July 2018; after successful drainage and gravel work, curbing and crusher dust surfacing begins October 1st.
Related, the Pownal Selectmen on April 23rd unanimously supported RRCT & Bradbury’s suggestion to communicate to Maine DOT to study improvements to the safety of the public trail crossing of Route 9 at Bradbury, anticipating paving work in 2020. The Selectmen’s resulting letter to MaineDOT is here. In its 30-year history, the Royal River Conservation Trust helped expand Bradbury five times.
As new funding and your donations build the size of the Rain or Shine Fund, we plan to open dialog with the Town of Durham to explore fishing access by wheelchair facilities at the Runaround Pond Recreation Area.
RRCT is working with MaineTrailFinder.com, Maine’s Center for Community GIS, the Maine State ADA Accessibility Coordinator to develop a new framework for reporting information on trail accessibility using parks and trails in the Royal River watershed as locations for trail accessibility assessment work. Thank you to the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund for funding MaineTrailFinder.com’s work. MaineTrailFinder.com allows users to search hundreds of trail postings based on such criteria as trail activity type, distance, and location. For mobility- and access-challenged users, the website will be upgraded with the search functionality and level of detail needed to identify and assess appropriate trail experiences. (Example, wheelchair icons and narratives describing trail features.)
RRCT applauds the Town of Yarmouth (Royal River Park) and Maine Fish & Wildlife (New Gloucester’s Lily Pond-Chandler Mill Pond) for 2018 investments in wheelchair access.
Outdoor programs for low-income and at-risk youth: Also with the Androscoggin Land Trust, RRCT is financially supporting outdoor and gardening programs through Auburn’s Police Activities League (PAL), serving Auburn youth from low-income backgrounds. Both the Royal and Androscoggin Rivers run through the the City of Auburn; PAL outdoor programming includes field trips to Gray, New Gloucester, Auburn, and more. The two land trusts also helped PAL secure free State Park passes for trips to parks including Bradbury, Range Pond, and beyond.
We aim to continually increase the number of people who are getting outdoors and into woods, free of cost. Thank you for your support.