WESTBROOK – Sappi Fine Paper North America in Westbrook plans to build a hand-carry boat launch and parking lot off Tow Path Road on the Presumpscot River in Little Falls.

According to a newspaper advertisement, the company intended to file a Natural Resources Protection Act application with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection around March 4. But the Gorham Planning Department had not received an application for the project as of Tuesday.

Under the proposal, a gravel access road with parking spaces for four or five vehicles would be located on land owned by the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust.

“It makes sense to us to have river access in that area,” Stefan Jackson, land trust executive director, said on Tuesday. “It seems like a good access point.”

Jackson said the project is in the beginning of the approval process. “As a proposed impacted landowner, (Presumpscot Regional Land Trust) authorizes Sappi to apply for the necessary permits from local, state and federal agencies having jurisdiction over the project,” Jackson wrote on Nov. 27 in a support letter to Brad Goulet, hydro manager and utilities engineer at Sappi.

“We haven’t made any official agreements yet,” Jackson said.

Jackson said Goulet is also a member of the board of directors for the land trust. Goulet could not be reached on Tuesday afternoon for comment about the boat launch.

Jackson said the launch would not have a ramp for larger boats.

The land trust, with headquarters on South Street in Gorham, has 42 acres in the area proposed for the boat launch. The land trust trailhead is located at Great Falls Elementary School and it has a partnership with the school that has an outdoor classroom, Jackson said.

Jackson said its land runs up the towpath that served the Cumberland-Oxford canal that once linked Sebago Lake with Portland. Canal boats were towed by horses, which walked along the sides of the canal on the towpaths.

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