South Portland Land Trust will celebrate the opening of its newest recreational trail when it hosts a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. to open the new Clark’s Pond extension trail. The ceremony, being held in conjunction with National Public Lands Day, will take place along a new portion of the trail, located between the Maine Air National Guard and the Irving station (along Western Avenue).

South Portland Land Trust will celebrate the opening of its newest recreational trail when it hosts a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. to open the new Clark’s Pond extension trail. Courtesy photo/Richard Rottkov

Elected political leaders and city officials will join South Portland Land Trust President Alex Redfield for the ceremonial ribbon cutting. The opening of the extension trail creates a 2.1-mile trail, enabling pedestrians to walk completely around the pond.

The completion of the loop trail is the culmination of a nearly 15-year effort to obtain the necessary easements and rights of use agreements from the Air National Guard, Life Storage, and Spirit Realty (owners of the Irving station property). Since the the land trust’s West End Trail Committee began in 2006, the trust previously completed the initial 1.1-mile Clark’s Pond Trail in 2007 and later built the Long Creek, Red Brook, and South Branch trails. Each trail is located within the greater Maine Mall area.

A citywide trail map is available at

Built almost exclusively by volunteers and with funding from a Community Development Block Grant, the Davis Conservation Fund, and Maine Community Foundation support, the Clark’s Pond Trail is part of the the trust’s vision to help make the western part of the city more accessible and more livable for city residents and visitors. By creating walkways that connect neighborhoods with the areas where many businesses and schools are located, pedestrians now have safe and enjoyable access through some of the city’s most natural, scenic and historical markers. The land trust hopes its projects will increase environmental stewardship and support the ongoing efforts of the Long Creek restoration and revitalization project.

Although there are several examples of successful planning in the area, the city’s western area has been associated with sprawling private development and commercial and industrial complexes, traffic congestion, and a lack of pedestrian access. The trust’s board of directors created the West End Trails Committee in 2006, establishing partnerships with area stakeholders, including local businesses, city of South Portland staffers, as well as other environmental and pedestrian constituent organizations. The West End Trail committee is now chaired by Pete Carney, the executive director of the Long Creek Watershed Management District.


Land trust members, local residents, and area businesses interested in working on the trails and/or fundraising, and or anyone seeking more formation are invited to access its website (, the South Portland Land Trust Facebook page, or send an email to

The land trust is committed to the belief that its trails and open space projects will have a positive impact on the health and safety of city residents, and also enhance the identity, vitality, and overall quality of life of South Portland’s neighborhoods and housing areas. The creation of more natural features will also support the trust’s education goals, including the understanding of environmental stewardship and the appreciation of local history. This will enhance public and private awareness and commitment to preserving and protecting open space and natural environmental features.

Additionally, the pedestrian projects will result in the conservation of energy by providing healthy and safe alternatives for off-road access. The trust recognizes that its pedestrian projects, through the creation of natural buffers (such as the South Branch, Long Creek, and Redd Brook trails), will enhance awareness for environmental conservation and foster community stewardship. As the trails will provide access and a buffer for a large population, natural areas within the surrounding confines of the trail network will thus be protected and preserved.

The 29th annual National Environmental Education Foundation’s Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Through the event, the foundation works to connect people to public lands in their community, inspire environmental stewardship, and encourage the use of public lands for education, recreation, and general health.

To encourage people to join in and visit their public lands, National Public Lands Day is a fee-free day for all federal public lands and many state parks. Whether you volunteer on National Public Lands Day, enjoy some boating, hiking, fishing, or camping, or simply learn more about your public lands and the plants and wildlife that live there, we invite you to take this day to enjoy the great outdoors and celebrate the lands that give us so much.

Follow National Environmental Education Foundation on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates and engage with the community through the hashtag #NPLD.

Dana Bettez is membership and engagement manager for South Portland Land Trust. She can be reached at


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