West Side Trail

WST_KioskMap_July2016_large

PHASE 2 VOLUNTEER WORK DAY SEPTEMBER 30th 2017.   WORK DAY INFORMATION HERE.

Yarmouth’s West Side Trail is an 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, Bicycle Coalition of Maine, and the Greater Portland chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association. Significant funding has come from the Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands, Recreational Trail Program.

Scroll below for information on the Fall 2017 expansion of the trail to additional neighborhoods (the beginning of Phase II).

PHASE 1: COMPLETED TRAIL 

Printer-friendly PDF Map: West Side Trail (2016)

AUGUST 2017 UPDATE:  The new trailhead at Tyler Technologies is now open and marked with a kiosk, in the back right corner of the new parking lot.  The maps have not yet been updated to reflect new office buildings and relocated trailheads.

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 funding and 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 town volunteer Dan Ostrye or connect with the trail’s site on Facebook.

PHASE 2:  CONSTRUCTION BEGINS:
We are excited to announce that construction has begun on Phase 2 of the West Side Trail.  Phase 2 will run from Route 1 west to the existing trail network in the Applewoods subdivision.
FIRST SPUR: Construction began in late July of 2017 on the first part of Phase 2, linking the sidewalks and shoulders of West Elm Street, Portland Street, and Route 1 via the I-295 park & ride lot. This first spur includes a trailhead at the Park & Ride facility and a crossing of the largely unused state-owned rail line and a single trail connecting to West Elm Street.  Current work is limited to the trailhead and railroad crossing.  The connecting trail will be built this fall following outreach to abutters and consultation with CMP. Full construction of this first spur will take several months with a community work day scheduled for Saturday September 30th. This first spur will allow quicker and safer bike and walking access for commuters to and from the Park & Ride, and to Route 1, and to and from the existing West Side Trail across I-295.
Phase 2 will feel different than the current West Side Trail (Phase 1), which because of terrain was designed for single-track technical mountain biking and single-file walking or running.
The new railroad crossing near the Park & Ride is beginning to take shape.

Phase 2 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 2 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.

Funding, volunteer work, staff work, permissions, and other efforts for Phase 2 are being coordinated between the Town of Yarmouth, CMP, Maine DOT, Rotary Club of Yarmouth, Bicycle Coalition of Maine, New England Mountain Bike Association (Greater Portland Chapter), Royal River Conservation Trust, and scores of local volunteers led by volunteer project manager and Yarmouth resident Dan Ostrye.

NEXT SPURS:  Future stages (late 2018) of Phase 2 are all northwest of I-295, connecting major Yarmouth neighborhoods including Oakwood, Applewood, and McKearney Village. The gravel trail will have street connections to Hillside Avenue, trail connections to neighborhoods and schools, and sidewalk connections across town.
For now, Hillside Avenue and Greely Road are the West Side Trail’s planned 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.

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