November 18, 2013

In Falmouth, a modern network of mountain biking trails beckons

The mountain bike community pitches in to build and maintain 45 miles of trails.

By Deirdre Fleming dfleming@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Mountain bikers can now utilize 45 miles of mountain bike trails on land preserved against development in Falmouth. The town has managed to protect more than 1,400 acres so far – representing about 15 percent of the town’s total acreage.

Photos by Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

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Falmouth’s biking trails – many built in the last two years – are noteworthy enough in both design and scope to attract biking enthusiasts from Vermont and New Hampshire.

Additional Photos Below

“There are lots of large blocks,” Shafto said proudly.

And on all of them mountain bikers now have winding, climbing, rooty, rocky single track – the way mountain bikers in New England like it. Where swamp and bog land left an impasse to riders across preserves, Hemphill and others built narrow, low-lying bridges.

From the Blackstrap Hill Preserve a rider now can travel 12.3 miles to the Hadlock Community Forest, where they can cover 4.4 miles before coming to a trail that leads to Community Park, where another 4.5 miles awaits.

The woods here are thick and quiet. The sections that have been cut for wildlife like deer and New England cottontail give the feeling of a working forest much further north than Portland.

And more trails might await.

At the East Branch of the Piscataquis River, Shafto wants to eventually find a way across the railroad with a tunnel.

“The railroad is a huge barrier to the trail connectivity. The best solution is to go under it. That’s expensive. But that would connect Community Park to the high school, which would be a huge advantage for everyone,” Shafto said.

How much more land can be protected and saved for the benefit of wildlife and recreation beside Maine’s largest city?

“That’s not a question I have an answer for. We didn’t want to set an arbitrary target. What we’re looking at is adding to these properties,” Shafto said.

 

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or at:

dfleming@pressherald.com

Twitter: FlemingPph

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Additional Photos

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Caleb Hemphill, a Falmouth carpenter and vice president of the Falmouth Land Trust, is also a mountain biker. He’s helped organize other bikers to build and improve trails, including bridges in wet areas.

  


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