Volunteers help build a boardwalk on the West Side Trail off Hillside Avenue in Yarmouth. Seven handicapped accessible boardwalks will be built along the last mile of the trail. Contributed / Dan Ostyre

The final mile of Yarmouth’s West Side Trail is under construction and will be the town’s second handicap accessible pathway when complete.

The new section in the Applewood Farm subdivision will extend between West Elm Street and Hillside streets in Yarmouth, according to the  West Side Trail Committee. Fundraising is now underway to complete the trail.

When completed, the 11.1-mile walking and biking trail rail will connect Cousins Island to the town line with Cumberland just west of Yarmouth Elementary and Frank H. Harrison Middle schools.

The only other universally accessible trail in town is a 1-mile paved path along the river at Royal River Park, according to Maine By Foot, an online listing of Maine trails.

“I wanted to make sure that we were inclusive,” said Dan Ostyre, chairperson of the West Side Trail Committee.

West Side Trail in Yarmouth will be complete sometime early next year as fundraising has just kicked off to complete the last mile. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

“I got an email from one of our handicapped citizens asking if we were going to build this to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards and I said when we can, we will,” he said.


Central Maine Power, which owns the land and allowed the town to build the trail, usually doesn’t allow motorized equipment near its power lines, he said.

“We asked for an exemption for motorized mobility devices and got that,” Ostyre said.

The final section of the trail is flat or “gently rolling,” which makes it easier for the trail to be made accessible, Ostyre said. Other sections, specifically along Cousins Island, have rough terrain unsuitable for universal access standards, he said. Part of making the trail’s end accessible will include creating boardwalks that are over 5 feet wide with railings on either side.

“(The last mile) will be more accessible to the whole family, wheelchairs and strollers included,” said Yarmouth resident Dean Cilley, who walks the trail almost every day. “The West Side Trail really offers something for everyone.”

The final section will have seven boardwalks, ranging in length from 30 to 140 feet long, as well as three or four benches.

One of the benches on the West Side Trail near the Hillside Street trailhead. The benches were built with a grant from the local Rotary club. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

As of Jan. 14, The West Side Trail Committee has raised more than $60,00o of the $200,000 estimate for construction. The committee received a $50,000 grant from the state’s Recreational Trails Program. Royal River Conservation Trust has contributed $5,000 and the Rotary Club of Yarmouth has donated $6,500 for the benches. The bulk of the cost, Ostyre said, will be for gravel and about $35,000is needed to cover the cost of boardwalks.


Ostyre hopes to complete fundraising and put the project out to bid before spring. Construction is slated to begin over the summer once conditions on the trail are dry, with a targeted completion date of early 2023.

The trail is maintained by over 300 volunteers with help from organizations like the Rotary Club, Yarmouth Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee and the Royal River Conservation Trust.

“Our interest in the West Side Trail started when we realized we could connect some of the green spaces we had conserved and, in some ways, expand the parks and preserves by connecting them to themselves or to neighborhoods,” Royal River Conservation Trust Executive Director Alan Stearns said. “We’ve been supporting this project for over 10 years in any way we can.”

Donations can be made online at the rotary club’s website or by mailing checks made out to the Town of Yarmouth with a notation for the West Side Trail Fund to Yarmouth Community Services, 200 Main St., Yarmouth, ME 04096.

More information on the trail, including a map, can be found on the trust’s website at rrct.org.

Parking is available at the Fels-Groves Farm Preserve at 211 Gilman Road in Yarmouth, at a Tyler Technologies parking lot off Tyler Drive in Yarmouth and at Sandy Point Beach on Cousins Island.

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