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Land trust uses grants for trail development, GIS mapping

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Land trust uses grants for trail development, GIS mapping

BATH — The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust is using nearly $15,000 in grants it recently received to support its conservation program.

That program focuses on land protection, education and stewardship to ensure the future of the Kennebec Estuary, as well as to promote the estuary's ecological significance.

The land trust is using a $2,000 grant from the Evergreen Foundation to create in-house Geographic Information System capacity. GIS can analyze a variety of information and relate one layer to another, facilitating more intelligent mapping than paper maps, according to the trust.

GIS capacity will allow the trust to create maps for property monitoring, expand the trust's educational and outreach offerings, capture trail data using global positioning systems, and accurately map the geographic location of nesting sites, rare species sites, vernal pools, photo documentation points and other natural resource points of interest, according to the trust.

With a $12,650 grant it received from Merrymeeting Bay Trust, the land trust will create kiosks, signs and construction materials geared toward the development of the Whiskeag Trail, which runs five miles from the Bath Area Family YMCA to the land trust's Thorne Head preserve and facilitates multiple uses.

The non-profit land trust serves as the fiscal agent for Bath Trails, through which city government, other non-profits, area schools, bicyclists, hikers and private businesses are partnered in order to create, maintain and connect a network of multi-use trails for transportation, recreation and community health.

The trail is currently under construction. The land trust is offering a bike tour, "Tip to Tail," as well as a guided preview hike at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 19.

Established in 1989 and known formerly as the Lower Kennebec Regional Land Trust, the land trust serves Bath, Arrowsic, Bowdoinham, Dresden, Georgetown, West Bath, Westport Island and Woolwich.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.