The full moon on Dec. 29. The Eastern Trail Alliance offers walking events on full moon nights in the Scarborough Marsh. Catherine Bart photo


Carole Brush, former Eastern Trail Alliance executive director, leads a group of 15 or so people each month through the Scarborough Marsh portion of the trail. The group is able to see the full moon clearly and learn about the area and trail history. Catherine Bart photo

SCARBOROUGH — Because of the leap year, 2020 had one more full moon than usual, and a group of spectators gathered at Scarborough Marsh on the Eastern Trail to see.

On Dec. 29, the Eastern Trail Alliance staff, led by former Executive Director Carole Brush and joined by Jon Kachmar, the current executive director, hosted the last of 2020’s full moon walk events, where a small group of people walked through the marsh and saw the clear moon.

Brush said that the moon of that evening is commonly referred to as the Cold Moon. She also discussed the history of the trail and provided information about the section of trail through the Scarborough Marsh.

The full moon seen above the Scarborough Marsh on Dec. 29. Courtesy photo Carole Brush

The Eastern Trail Alliance formed in 1998, but the Scarborough Marsh bridge and trail didn’t open until 2004, she said.

Eagle Scouts have often completed projects on the trails, Brush said, and one such project is in the creation of a bench that overlooks the marsh.

Brush has been taking people out for full moon walks for years, she said. The activity has attracted dozens of people at a time.

“The coldest I’ve done is 4 degrees,” she said. “We didn’t get very far.”

One of Brush’s favorite parts about leading the tour is the community aspect, she said.

“I love the sense of awe inspired by the wonder of nature, sharing this with others as we enjoy the beautiful resource of the Eastern Trail and gazing up at the full moon is one of my most favorite things to do,” Brush said.

Due to COVID-19, the Eastern Trail Alliance asks people who are interested in going out on a full moon walk to register beforehand. There is a 15-person limit, and masks are required at all times.

People interested in going on the free walk can check for upcoming dates and times.

“Weather dependent, we hope to continue them throughout the winter,” Brush said. “Check our FaceBook page for dates and registration. Until we’re on the ‘other side’ of COVID, we’ll continue to limit group size to 15 people and encourage safety precautions including social distancing and masks.”

Kachmar said that the Eastern Trail Alliance hopes to hold events like its annual Maine Lighthouse Ride, which is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 11, according to the website. The virtual event held in 2020 attracted 175 people.

The alliance is looking to “close the gap” between the Nonesuch River in Scarborough and the Wainwright Field Complex in South Portland, he said. Now that fundraising has been completed, construction may begin as early as summer of 2021.

Events like the full moon walk bring a sense of community and awareness between the alliance and the public, Brush said.

“It’s an opportunity for us to learn from the group as we connect with others, share why the trail is such an incredible resource, where we are with its development and future plans, answer any questions as we walk along enjoying the trail together,” she said. “This year especially, the ability to provide safe, small group community has been so important and so welcome by the public.”

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