Last week, one of my friends asked where she needed to go to see the total solar eclipse. She lives in Portland, so she would have needed to travel about an hour and a half north to reach the southern end of the “path of totality.” The catch? She doesn’t have access to a car.

The best itinerary we could find involved taking a bus from Portland to Bangor on Sunday, catching a second bus to Howland, spending the night there, watching the eclipse on Monday, and spending another night until the next bus back to Bangor. Quite a commitment for an event that lasts less than four minutes.

Western Maine showed a little bit more promise. If we could somehow get her to the Farmington park and ride by 6:15 a.m. on Monday, the Sugarloaf Express would take her into the path of totality with plenty of time until the “skiclipse.” The catch? The bus lines to get to Farmington only run on weekdays, so we’d had to have departed on the Friday.

While this conversation was mostly hypothetical, and not applicable to most Mainers’ day-to-day, I do think it points to a greater reality: The outdoor spaces that we often think of as being integral to our state are often only accessible to those who can drive to them. In the coming years, I hope we keep looking for ways to improve access to the special places that we call home.

Philip Mathieu



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