Yarmouth Rotarians Dan Ostrye, Tom Downing and Bill Dunn at the recently completed boardwalk in Riverfront Woods Preserve. Courtesy / Dan Ostrye

YARMOUTH — A new 160-foot boardwalk has been installed by the Yarmouth Rotary Club in the Riverfront Woods Preserve.

The boardwalk, which was built in six weeks, begins about sixth-tenths of a mile from the trailhead parking lot at the end of Riverfront Drive.

“It was pretty exciting for us and the town because it was something the town would’ve otherwise not been able to afford to do,” said Dan Ostrye, a longtime member of the Yarmouth Rotary Club.

The total cost will be around $7,000, including signage to be put up in the spring, according to Erik Donohoe, Yarmouth Parks specialist. The local Rotary Club donated $1,500 and received a grant of $5,000 from Rotary District #7780 in June 2020 towards the cost. The remaining $500 was slated to come from Yarmouth Community Services.

Due to the remote location of the wetland that the boardwalk covers and the impending cold fall weather, the Rotarians decided to utilize the river as the fastest way to get materials to the work site.

Ostrye contacted an acquaintance at the Yarmouth Boat Yard that knew of available pontoon boats at its sister marina on Sebago Lake. A boat was brought down to the Yarmouth History Center, where it was loaded up and launched Oct. 31.

Materials were prepped the week of Oct. 12 and the project was finalized the week of Dec. 7.

Boardwalk materials and the boat used to get them up the Royal River at the Yarmouth History Center on Oct. 31. Courtesy / Dan Ostrye

It took five runs to get all the materials up the river, according to Ostrye. Around 30 volunteers joined the work party from the Rotary Club, Royal River Conservation Trust and Yarmouth Parks and Lands Committee. 

“It was a beautiful day and everyone knew what we were there for,” Yarmouth Rotary President Justin Coffin said. “There was a really lovely mix of people. Some youngsters and people who work professionally out in the woods who were sharing lots of fun information with everybody, in particular my kids, who were asking lots of questions.”

“It was a community effort and that’s how things get done,” Ostrye said. “You never get anything done just as a Rotary Club, you find partners and you collaborate.” 

According to Town of Yarmouth Open Space Plan 2019, there are 892 acres of conserved or public land of the 8,544 total acres in Yarmouth.

The boardwalk will eventually be made handicapped accessible down to the river, which will allow strollers to traverse it as well, according to Ostrye. The trail is for pedestrians only – no dogs are permitted in order to protect wildlife.

“We think that’s a very important part of promoting healthy lifestyles and aging in place,” Ostrye said. “Here you can expect a peaceful, quiet, contemplative place to go and walk.”

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