As warm weather beckons, our busy season at Maine GearShare is ramping up, and it has me thinking about the value of Maine trails.

Maine GearShare is a Brunswick-based nonprofit with a mission to provide access to outdoor gear and know-how through a collaborative, equity-centered approach. We have a large inventory of outdoor equipment and apparel for hiking, camping and backpacking. Our vision is that all people in Maine have access to the gear they need to enjoy time in nature, and gear is never a barrier to participation.

When it comes to expanding access, Maine’s trails are another big part of the equation. We’re fortunate in Maine to have incredible trails for a variety of uses, but with more residents and visitors enjoying Maine’s beautiful woods, mountains and coasts, some trails have fallen into disrepair or have even closed. Others remain open and in great condition, thanks mostly to volunteers. We need to invest in these resources to maintain them for all users and protect them for future generations.

There’s a bill in the Legislature that would do just that. L.D. 1156, the Maine Trails Bond, would, for the first time, provide $30 million in grant funding over four years for the design, construction and maintenance of motorized, non-motorized and active transportation trails.

At Maine GearShare, we believe that connection to nature is fundamental to individual health and resilient communities. This is why we’ve joined nearly 300 other local businesses, towns and organizations to support the Maine Trails Bond.

Emily Mackeown

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