VOLUNTEERS from Stantec work on the waterfront trail in Topsham earlier this summer.

VOLUNTEERS from Stantec work on the waterfront trail in Topsham earlier this summer.

TOPSHAM

On Saturday, Topsham along with the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust will unveil its newest walking trail on the banks of the Androscoggin River. The event takes place behind the old fire station in Topsham’s Lower Village and will run in tandem with a pop-up park celebration.

Topsham’s Carolyn Eyerman, who will be hosting the celebration, said that a park in this location has been in the works for quite some time now, and the new trail and pop-up park celebration will help promote the idea of building a permanent park here one day.

“A pop-up park is supposed to illustrate what a real park would look like,” said Eyerman. “We’ve been talking about a park for the Lower Village for a long time. This idea is sort of the latest planning tool that folks are using on a temporary basis to give people an idea of what (a park) might look like.”

The new waterfront hiking trail can only strengthen the idea of a permanent park in this section of Topsham. Caroline Eliot of BTLT headed up the reconstruction efforts that took place to recreate this trail for the public.

“A rough trail had been there for quite awhile,” said Eliot, who along with BTLT employees and local volunteers has been preparing the waterfront trail for the better part of 2016.

Topsham residents had been maintaining the trail because they “enjoyed the view of the river,” Eliot said. But now that the trail has become part of the land trust, Eliot said a Department of Environmental Protection permit was needed since portions of the trail traverse over wetlands.

“The trail is going to get increased usage, so we had to get permitted,” Eliot said, adding that the bulk of the work was getting the trail up to DEP regulations. “We had to pull the trail back from the river in a couple locations, rerouting it from the pre-existing trail.”

This meant clearing out large swaths of brush and invasive plants like honeysuckle and barberry. Luckily no large trees had to come down, Eliot said. Crews also dug out some of the larger shrubs.

Some areas of the trail are prone to flooding in the spring, so Eliot and her crew put in stone and wood chips to combat the incoming water. They also built a bridge to traverse part of the river and a set of steps at the trail access point from the existing river landing.

“We were trying to take as minimalist an approach as possible,” Eliot said. “We’ll wood-chip some parts but see if grass grows in other parts. The point of the trail is to give people access to the river. There’s not a lot of that in Topsham. It’s a lovely little spot.”

Since signage still needs to go up and there are still some finishing touches to put on the trail, there will be an opportunity for the public to pitch in a helping hand during Saturday’s festivities.

“We are advertising the opportunity (for the public) to do some trail work, mostly in the a.m. from 10-12,” Eliot said. “It’s just detail stuff, picking up trash, digging up woody plants, just stuff that will help with maintenance.”

Other events during the pop-up park celebration include a bike ride from the basketball court at the recreation field to the old fire station in the Lower Village, an inaugural walk along the new waterfront trail, and games, music and food in the temporary park.

“I hope people come,” said Eyerman. “It’s something fun happening in our Lower Village. If people like this, we’ll think about doing it again next year.”

OTHER EVENTS during the pop-up park celebration include a bike ride from the basketball court at the recreation field to the old fire station in the Lower Village, and games, music and food in the temporary park.


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: