Yarmouth’s West Side Trail is a rapidly expanding network of walking and biking trails connected to Fels-Groves Farm Preserve, Sandy Point Beach, and various Yarmouth neighborhoods. The Royal River Conservation Trust is a strong supporter of this community-driven Town of Yarmouth project, along with the Rotary Club of Yarmouth, the National Park Service, Central Maine Power Company, funding from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, and the Greater Portland chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association.
Scroll below for information on plans to expand the trail to additional neighborhoods (Phase II).
PHASE I: COMPLETED TRAIL
Printer-friendly PDF Map: West Side Trail (2016)
DECEMBER 2016 UPDATE: The trailhead at Tyler Technologies is now open and marked with a temporary kiosk, in the back right corner of the new parking lot. Please use this spot for parking and trail access, and stay out of the way of ongoing construction traffic for the new office buildings.
The currently-built section (east of I-295) has slopes and terrain designed for technical mountain biking, walking, and trail running. More than six miles of trail make possible off-road round trips of more than ten miles. While the trail follows powerlines, most of the trail is in the woods on the edge of the cleared areas. The trail includes ravines, rocky bluffs, and vistas to Casco Bay and the Royal River estuary with an unexpected sense of remoteness, even while crossing ten neighborhood streets. The map illustrates almost a dozen places to park and access the trail.
The trail is managed by the Town of Yarmouth, with support from the Royal River Conservation Trust and many others. A remarkable amount of volunteer work is necessary to maintain the trail after storms, prepping for mud season, or responding to constant goals of improvement with signs, kiosks, benches, and more. Please be especially attentive to trail closures during wet periods, and to trail postings regarding dog leashes and hunting.
For information and to join these volunteers, call or email Kyle Warren 632-6112 firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with the trail’s site on Facebook.
Phase II will be west of I-295, connecting major Yarmouth neighborhoods including Oakwood, Applewood, and McKearney Village. The gravel trail will have street connections to Hillside Avenue and West Elm Street, trail connections to neighborhoods, and sidewalk connections across town. Funding, volunteer work, staff work, permissions, and other efforts for Phase II are being coordinated between the Town of Yarmouth, CMP, Yarmouth Rotary, New England Mountain Bike Association (Greater Portland), Royal River Conservation Trust, and scores of local volunteers led by volunteer project manager and Yarmouth resident Dan Ostrye.
Phase II will feel different than the current West Side Trail (Phase I), which because of terrain was designed for single-track technical mountain biking and single-file walking or running. Phase II will be “universally accessible,” with five foot wide gravel base, bumpouts to allow passing, and easy grades that will allow tandem walking, family biking, better access for the elderly and folks with mobility challenges. For some, Phase II will be more about transportation — an off-road respite or short-cut for folks commuting on a bicycle — rather than recreation. For others the trail will present better alternatives to get to the three nearby schools.
Later continuations of Phase II to Route 1 and the I-295 park & ride lot will require permission to cross the largely ununsed state-owned rail line. Neighborhood connections along the trail to the park & ride lot will allow even more commuters to make use of the trail. Conversations with MaineDOT as the owner of the rail line are ongoing.
For now, Hillside Avenue and Greely Road will be the West Side Trail’s connections to growing trail networks in Cumberland and North Yarmouth, including restored snowmobile networks, the Twin Brooks Recreation Area, and the new Knight’s Pond Preserve. Conversations between trail clubs, town committees, and town staff in the three towns are beginning to take shape. Crossing of active railroad tracks at Yarmouth Junction present considerable safety and cost issues.
Schedules for construction depend upon future decisions on funding, permissions, and coordination.
The West Side Trail was first conceived in 1988, in the Town of Yarmouth Public Access and Recreation Plan (PARP). The solid recent support of the Yarmouth Town Council and so many others is helping move this nearly 30-year-old plan toward reality today.