Recreational Trail Grants Announced
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Recreational Trail Grants Announced

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AUGUSTA, ME – February 18, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — More than $1.4 million in Recreational Trails Program grants has been announced for local and state trail projects, according to the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

A total of 31 state projects and 23 local projects – including the reconstruction of a collapsed snowmobile bridge in Andover — can expect to be approved for federal funding in the next two weeks, according to BPL officials. The recipient organizations were notified last week.

“Maine’s recreational trails already are among some of the best in the country and offer all kinds of outdoor opportunities for Maine residents and visitors,” said Commissioner Patrick McGowan of the Maine Department of Conservation, which oversees BPL. “These grants will help support and improve numerous trail projects around the state, which in turn will generate even more economic and recreational benefits.”

“Several of the organizations are extremely happy at receiving their grants,” Mick Rogers, BPL manager of community grants and recreation, said. “A lot had applied well before the application deadline. One group even came down to Augusta several times with their application to make sure they got it right.”

The total amount of funding is expected to be $1,466,847 from Federal Highway Administration funds by way of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The money comes from federal taxes on off-road vehicle registrations, Rogers said.

More federal money was available this year than in past years due to a change in the funding formula, he said. The dedicated federal money can’t be used for any other projects.

There were 65 applications for this round of grants. The selection of recipients was made by the Maine Trails Advisory Council, whose subcommittees reviewed the proposals by category, Rogers said. The four categories are: motorized; non-motorized; diverse; and safety and education.

Among the more notable projects, according to Rogers, is the $87,000 grant awarded to the Snow Valley Sno-Goers snowmobile club in Andover. The funds will be used to rebuild a 140-foot-long snowmobile suspension bridge that crossed the Ellis River in Andover and was part of Interstate Trail System 82.

The 30-year-old bridge constructed by the Maine Army National Guard collapsed in January 2008 and fell 16 feet into the river shortly after eight snowmobilers crossed it. Work already has begun on reinstalling the structure.

Also receiving a $10,000 grant is the town of Greenville/Greenville High School, which is building a 1-mile loop behind the school. The trail will used for educational purposes, hiking and cross-country skiing and will be open for use by the community. Rogers called the project “a real grass-root effort.”

Another $103,000 grant is going to the Bradbury Mountain State Park/Pineland Land Unit, for the connection between the state park in Pownal and the public land unit in New Gloucester. The new trail will include two bridges and trail improvements and will be available to the public for hiking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding.

Another $40,000 in grant money will be used to update BPL trail brochures, which are available for the public. Maine has 260 state-owned and leased multi-use recreational trails. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife also is receiving funding to print landowner liability brochures.

Other local grants are going to: Bangor Land Trust; Maine Appalachian Club; Portland Trails; town of Freeport; Monhegan; Sanford Kiwanis; town of Falmouth; city of Waterville; MSAD 60; Appalachian Mountain Club; Maine Huts and Trails; Great Works Regional Land Trust; Portage Lakers; town of Bethel; Blue Ridge Snowmobile Club; Great Pond Mountain Land Trust; town of Minot; Androscoggin River Watershed Council; town of Canton; Western Mountain Foothills; and University of Maine at Orono.

The recipient list now goes to the Federal Highway Administration for final review, Rogers said. “The local projects should be approved for funding within the next two weeks,” he said.

Applications for the next round of trail grants will be available at the end of February, as will the application for the Land & Water Conservation grants. The forms will be available on line. Rogers said he would work with applicants on their forms if their applications are received early.

For more information, call Rogers at: (207) 287-4962 or go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/programs/community/index.html

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