A broad coalition of businesses, municipalities and recreation organizations called on the Maine Legislature Thursday to support a $30 million bond to raise money for the state’s trails.

Investing in trails is a key strategy for boosting Maine’s $3 billion outdoor recreation economy, which supports 31,000 jobs, coalition leaders said in a prepared statement. The coalition said the funding is especially needed now to recover from damage from the winter’s floods and storms.

The coalition includes 43 statewide organizations, 192 local organizations, 75 cities and towns, 167 businesses, and 41 ATV and snowmobile clubs, according to a statement. Members include L.L. Bean, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Municipal Association, the Maine Snowmobile Association, ATV Maine, the Maine Tourism Association, the Maine Youth Camping Association, cities and towns from Madawaska to York to Rumford to Calais, and dozens of the state’s top outdoor recreation companies, sporting camps, land trusts, and trail organizations.

A bill before the Legislature would provide $30 million in state grants over four years to organizations and towns for motorized, non-motorized, and multiuse trail projects. If approved and sent to voters for final approval this fall, it would be the first-ever statewide referendum on a trails bond.

The bill, L.D. 1156, was introduced in 2023 and carried over to the 2024 legislative session. It needs a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, and the governor’s signature of approval, to place it on the November 2024 ballot for consideration by Maine voters.

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