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. These initiatives require more funding to support them year-after-year, and to expand the impact.
Free State Park passes in libraries:
This program was incredibly successful. Multiple libraries reported that each of their state park passes were checked out close to one hundred times this summer.
“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.” – Auburn Public Library.
“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.” – Gray Public Library.
We look forward to offering State Park passes in the libraries again, starting in January of 2019- Its never a bad time to get outside and into your favorite State Park. Check with your local library, and see if the passes are available.
Wheelchair access & trail accessibility
In 2018 the Rain or Shine Fund helped to improve wheelchair accessibility to the playground and picnic area at Bradbury Mountain State Park. We leveraged equal matching funds from the state park system for a total of $20,000 invested into better outdoor access.
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:
With Androscoggin Land Trust, RRCT financially supported outdoor photography and gardening programs through Auburn’s Police Activities League (PAL), serving Auburn youth from low-income backgrounds. Both the Royal and Androscoggin River’s run through the city of Auburn; PAL outdoor programming brought kids on field trips to Gray, New Gloucester, Auburn and more. The two land trust’s also helped secure free State Park passes for trips to parks including Bradbury, Range Pond, and beyond. We look forward to supporting Auburn PAL again in 2019.
Free Programs and Preserves:
RRCT’s Rain or Shine Club met almost every Thursday throughout 2018. This program is free and open to anyone who wanted to participate. This five minute video describes the Rain or Shine Club from the perspective of one set of parents.
Monthly, our free Get Out! Nature Walks are hosted jointly with the Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust. These walks explore Preserves and nature in depth, generally hosted by a volunteer naturalist, with a target curriculum.
Our free monthly Royal River Film series (mid-year only) is hosted jointly with the Yarmouth Historical Society. Films vary in topic, but always focus on the outdoors and nature.
The Rain or Shine Fund Continues Momentum into 2019
Free State Park passes at libraries:
In 2019, libraries will have free state park passes starting in January, courtesy of RRCT and other organizations including: Cumberland & Chebeague Land Trust, Androscoggin Land Trust and Presumpscot Land Trust. Auburn will have 4, New Gloucester, 3, Gray Public Library, 3, Merrill Memorial Library(Yarmouth) 2, Prince Memorial Library(Cumberland) 1. Check with your local library about reserving the passes. Several libraries allow multi-day pass check-out.
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.
It’s never a bad time to get outside! Enjoy the great Maine winter at your favorite State Parks, free of charge. Take It Outside with Maine State Parks kicks off on New Years day, where select parks are free and open to all. Take it Outside, continues through the winter, and park fees aren’t covered, but you can get your park pass at your library! On New Years, Bradbury Mountain State Park is offering a ranger guided hike to the summit, where you will learn about the history of the park, species identification and tracking. Meet at the upper parking lot and plan for one or two hours. For more information call: 207-688-4712.
Outdoor programs for low-income and at-risk youth:
The board of RRCT once again voted to financially support outdoor programming through the Auburn Police Activities League, in conjunction with the Androgscoggin Land Trust. We aim to continually increase the number of people who are getting outdoors and into woods, free of cost. Thank you for your support.
Wheelchair access and trail accessibility:
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.)
The Pownal Selectmen on April 23, 2018 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.
Free programs and Preserves:
The Rain or Shine Club: will continue! Every Thursday at 10:00 am, everyone is welcome. For more information visit:
Trail Crew: our newest program runs variably throughout the year on Wednesdays at 10:00 am.
Get Out! Nature walks: Our collaboration with the Chebeague and Cumberland Land Trust continues to offer nature walks free of charge, once a month, with volunteer naturalists and specific curriculums.
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.