WESTBROOK – Trail advocates are one step closer to developing a walking/biking trail system that would connect Portland to Sebago Lake.
The Westbrook City Council voted unanimously last week to support development of a 28-mile trail system linking existing hiking trails, bike paths and sidewalks with some new trails to create a continuous walkway between Sebago Lake and Portland’s East End Beach.
The 4-mile leg of the trail in Westbrook begins on Bridge Street and goes northeast to East Bridge Street. The trail goes to Puritan Road, then 1,300 feet through city-owned property to the Presumpscot River. The trail follows along the river to Bridgton Road, where it enters the city of Portland.
Molly Just, Westbrook’s planner, said the trail will give residents another way to get to Portland. The trail will connect Westbrook to Standish, Windham, Gorham or Falmouth.
Just said the trail will pass by the city’s old Wescott Junior High School, the new home of the community center. She said people using the trail can use the community center’s swimming pool or take a class there.
City officials said there is parking to access the trail along Bridge and East Bridge Street, and in the community center’s parking lot.
The Sebago to the Sea Trail is almost complete. About 18 of its 28 miles are already in place, which includes a section of the Mountain Division Trail, a 10-foot-wide bicycle and walking path along the railroad line, and some of Portland’s 32-mile trail network.
Tania Neuschafer, a consultant for the Sebago to the Sea Trail project, said Westbrook is a critical link to the trail system because of its connection to Portland’s trails.
“This is really exciting,” Neuschafer said. “It will provide some incredible recreational opportunities for people.”
Portland Trails plans to improve a portion of the trail along the Presumpscot River from Route 302 to Halidon Road, creating a spur to Puritan Road. It also wants to improve an informal parking area on East Bridge Street, about .2 miles from Route 302.
The work will be done at no cost to the city. Portland Trails plans to make the improvements and maintain the trail.
The Sebago to the Sea Trail coalition, a group of more than a dozen nonprofit groups and agencies, has been working on the project for more than two years. It plans to install its first signs marking the trail by the end of the year.
Nan Cumming, executive director of Portland Trails, said the project is a great example of communities working together for one goal.
“That is what is making this happen,” Cumming said. “We have been building trails along the Presumpscot River for the past 10 years. To see them connect from Westbrook up through Sebago Lake is really wonderful.”
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: