YARMOUTH — Thanks to an updated license agreement with Central Maine Power Co., nearly six miles of land along a power line right-of-way can be used for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
The Town Council on May 19 unanimously authorized the agreement for trail use in the corridor. The town has held a license to build trails on the right-of-way since 1991, but without use, the agreement needed reworking.
Dan Ostrye, of the Yarmouth Bike and Pedestrian Committee, said the project has been a possibility for more than 20 years, but not until about a year and a half ago has it started to gain momentum.
He said the project has the support of high school students, parents with children, members of the New England Mountain Bike Association and other community groups.
On Tuesday, Ostrye said he is very excited to start the project.
“It is gratifying to know we are moving forward,” he said. “The support and interest continues to grow.”
The West Side Multi-Use Trail Network will run from Wyman Generating Station on Cousins Island to the CMP substation on West Elm Street and continue north behind Oakwood and Applewood subdivisions to the Pan Am railroad tracks.
Ostrye said since the trails are not that extensive, he does not expect a lot of regional use, and since it is a volunteer project, does not expect to use town or taxpayer money to design the trails.
The council advised Ostrye to hold informational neighborhood meetings before the trail construction begins. Councilor Erv Bickford was the most concerned about abutter rights, safety and awareness.
“The concept I like, but I am scared of the details,” he said.
Ostrye said the project will take place in phases, and each of the 98 abutters will be made aware of trail construction in their area.
“The whole goal is to connect neighborhoods and provide trails for people to safely enjoy,” he said.