Segments of the Casco Bay Trail network have been considered for years, incubating the vision for a more fully-integrated and continuous trail network.
Statewide Trails Vision
Long-distance multi-use trails were a key recommendation of a 2010 report on Improving Maine’s Quality of Place Through Integrated Bicycle and Pedestrian Connections, prepared by the Maine Dept. of Transportation, State Planning Office, Dept. of Conservation, and Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2019, the Maine Trails Coalition conducted a poll showing that 86 percent of Mainers favor creating multi-use trails on unused rail corridors, if the trails could be converted back to railroad use if needed. (MTC Poll Results)
In 2020, the Maine Trails Coalition released its Maine Rail Trail Plan 2020-2030, which identifies 13 priority rail trail projects and 5 exploratory rail trail projects. Four of these projects would be part of the Casco Bay Trail network. Many others would connect directly to the Casco Bay Trail network, thereby advancing a statewide vision for trail connectivity.
Portland to Lewiston-Auburn
As part of a GIS course at USM in 2015, undergraduate student Izaac Onos conducted an exploratory “concept” study of converting the Portland to Yarmouth section of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic rail corridor to a trail. (Onos study) In collaborative work coordinated through the Greater Portland Council of Governments in 2017, a study was conducted of a potential “rail with trail” on the St. Lawrence and Atlantic corridor between Portland and Yarmouth. (GPCOG study) The GPCOG study included a video visualization of the trail experience.
Lewiston-Auburn to Brunswick
In 2013-2014, the Androscoggin Land Trust began its study of a 13-mile trail using the Lewiston Lower Rail line from downtown Lewiston to Lisbon, where it would connect with the existing 2-mile Papermill Trail. A feasibility study for the envisioned trail was conducted by Sebago Technics. In 2020, the City of Auburn completed an Auburn Trails Feasibility Study.
Brunswick to Portland
In 2020, URI students Sarah McGraw, Samantha Lopes, & Lindsey Corse studied a potential off-road trail through Freeport (URI study). Starting at the Freeport end of the 3-mile Beth Condon Pathway (through Yarmouth), the envisioned path would continue from the Freeport YMCA to L.L. Bean headquarters, downtown Freeport, and on to the Brunswick line. L.L. Bean and the town of Freeport have already committed substantial resources for a trail as part of the L.L. Bean headquarter renovation project (PPH story).