Falmouth opens town's first 'enhanced mobility' trail

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FALMOUTH — Getting out onto the trails is getting a little easier.

A new “enhanced mobility” trail was constructed in the Woods Road Community Forest last week. The trail is a quarter-mile loop that takes people into the forest before circling back.

The town’s open space ombudsman, Robert Shafto, said the town had been interested in creating such a trail for several years, and recently decided to do so on the property just north of the Woodlands Club entrance because of its terrain.

“This area is pretty flat, it’s a beautiful place, and we thought it would be a good place to do the first one,” Shafto said.

While it technically won’t be handicapped-accessible because it won’t be paved, Shafto said the trail will allow access to wheelchairs, baby carriages, walkers and any kind of accessory mobility device. The surface of the trail will be made of recycled asphalt, which creates a firm and smooth surface.

The total cost of the project comes in at just under $10,000; 80 percent is from a state recreational trails program grant, and the remaining 20 percent was funded by the town, including a $1,000 gift from Wal-Mart. Shafto said paving the trail would have cost at least another $30,000.

“So we thought this will provide the same benefit at a more reasonable cost,” he said.

The work, which was done by A&A Excavating, only took a few days. Dylan Shores of A&A said most of the first day of work involved getting the materials out onto the trail before smoothing it over.

“We started (on June 30),” Shores said, when the crew was “pounding truckloads” of material out onto the trails.

The path was fully smoothed over on July 2.

Although this is the first and currently only enhanced mobility trail in town, Shafto said there is interest in creating more.

“It has to be a flat place to start with, otherwise it’s too steep of a slope,” Shafto said.

He said the Suckfish Brook Conservation Area off Mast Road would be another possible area for an enhanced mobility trail.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Sidebar Elements

Dylan Shores of A&A Excavating lifts fill material to be poured onto the new enhanced mobility trail in the Woods Road Community Forest in Falmouth. The work began on June 30 and was completed several days later.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.