Old Orchard Beach Recreation Department staffer Jessica McCarthy reads “The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” to summer campers during the grand opening of a new half-mile family walking trail at the Ballpark on July 23. Tammy Wells Photo

OLD ORCHARD BEACH — A walk on a trail in the woods and a story along the way — what could be better? Add in a pond, some wildlife, and a picnic area in a picturesque locale where one can rest, or enjoy a snack.

All that and more can be found on a new walking storyboard trail and family picnic area in Old Orchard Beach, built on a pathway at the back of the Ballpark. The entrance is near the community garden.

It is a tangible beginning of the work to carry out a vision for the 52-acre property to offer more activities for the Old Orchard Beach community, said Recreation Director Jason Webber. The Recreation Department assumed responsibility for the Ballpark on July 1.

It was a grand day for the grand opening of a new half-mile family walking trail at the Ballpark at Old Orchard Beach, as these town officials and summer campers can attest. Tammy Wells Photo

“A lot of get baseball people use the Ballpark,” said Webber. “We want Old Orchard Beach residents to see what an asset they have.”

Hence the OOB Recreational Complex at the Ballpark — the vision that began with the trail — with a storyboard to enchant the children and wildlife to enchant all.

What’s on the storyboard? Well, for the next week or so, the story is “The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” done up on colorful pages mounted on signposts along the half-mile trail pathway. On Grand Opening Day, July 23, children who take part in the Recreation Department’s summer camp, all wearing masks, gathered around Jessica McCarthy, who read them the story. The storyboards will change every two weeks.

On a walk down the trail, baby ducks splashed around their mother in the pond, learning to swim, while a flock of “teenage” ducks swam in a line across the water and an elegant, long-necked egret looked on.

Mark Tidd, an ed tech and cross country and track coach at Loranger Middle School who works at the town’s Recreation Department during the summer, said his students used the trail for training during the season, but until recently it was overgrown and unkempt.

An egret surrounded by ducks presides over a pond alongside a new family walking trail at Old Orchard Beach Ballpark on a recent Thursday. The new trail is the beginning of an expanded vision for the park, to include more activities. Tammy Wells Photo

When he came to his job at the Recreation Department this summer, Tidd was asked to work on the trail and did so, mowing down the overgrowth, otherwise tidying up and bringing in picnic tables and trash cans.

“I’ve seen deer and ducks and herons in the pond,” he said.

“We’re really excited,” said Assistant Recreation Director Nikki Duplisea. “This is my 20th year with the rec department and I didn’t know this (trail) was back here.”

Town Manager Larry Mead, who cut the ceremonial ribbon, said he didn’t either.

Down the wooded trail past the pond, near the family picnic area, the trail path makes a loop around the outfield wall and back through the woods, returning to the beginning.

The trail is the harbinger of more things to come at the Ballpark, Recreation Department officials say. As the summer days dwindle toward fall, the staff is thinking ahead to pumpkin season, and the possibilities.

“We’re creating a complex all of Old Orchard Beach can utilize,” said Webber.

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