Current Status

A final draft of an interlocal agreement has been developed by an interim board consisting of two representatives from each of the communities. Approval of the agreement will be before the Town of Topsham at their May 20, 2015 town meeting. The towns of Bowdoinham and Richmond have delegated final approval to their select boards. Gardiner city council will vote on final approval later this spring. The interlocal agreement authorizes a board of supervisors that will guide the development and ongoing maintanence of the trail.

With help from the Center for Community GIS a map and brochure has been developed which explains the vision of the trail and highlights the features along the trail.

Elmina B. Sewall Foundation has awarded $44,000 to the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust for development of the Capital to Coast Trail system. The Merrymeeting Trail is a major component of this trail system and will be able to use some of the money for more engineering and outreach.

Planning of an outreach program is in progress. A series of presentations is being considered to community groups to introduce the concept of the trail and the local trail segments. If you'd like us to present to your community group, please contact anyone on the Contacts page.

Previous Accomplishments

The Merrymeeting Trail was granted two years of full assistance from the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. Burnham Martin will be assisting us with project organization, planning a municipal organization, organizing public outreach, creating a maintenance plan, and raising funds.

Wright-Pierce has been hired to conduct a planning study. The overall goal for the planning study is to develop a comprehensive plan for implementing the creation of the Merrymeeting Trail.

VHB has completed the feasibility and preliminary engineering study for the proposed Merrymeeting rail with trail bicycle, pedestrian, multi-use path. Alternative routes were selected in portions where costs were high. The study is available here. The overall goal for creating a feasibility study was to develop a comprehensive plan for implementing a regional rail with trail that will serve as a recreational and transportation linkage. The feasibility study has identified possible alternatives for phasing the trail’s construction and ultimately will allow us to pursue funding for the construction of the Merrymeeting Trail. We were able to do the feasibility study thanks to the following funding:

  • $20,000 Regional Challenge Grant from the State Planning Office
  • $20,000 from MDOT
  • $13,500 from Maine Outdoor Heritage Board
  • $1,000 from the City of Gardiner
  • $1,000 from the Town of Richmond
  • $1,000 from the Town of Bowdoinham
  • $1,000 from Topsham Development Incorporated
  • $1,000 from Friends of Kennebec River Rail Trail

Regular meetings of the Merrymeeting Trail Initiative have been held since May 2008 to scope out the project. Some of the presenters and accomplishments, in chronological order, include:

  • Sally Jacobs gave a presentation about the Downeast Sunrise Trail.
  • Developed Memorandum of Agreement and secured support of municipalities.
  • Selected preferred trail corridor.
  • Started the planning process for the railroad corridor using GIS data.
  • Obtained maps of the railroad right-of-way from Maine Department of Transportation.
  • Created Strategic Project Outline.
  • Formed four subgroups to work on:
    • Organizational Structure
    • Corridor planning
    • Funding
    • Public Outreach
  • MDOT has begun work on an aerial map of the trail corridor that they will be provided to each municipality.
  • Midcoast council of Goverments, MCOG, is contributing staff time to work on this project.
  • Corridor study committee conducted a visual survey of the entire rail corridor.
  • Recieved staff assistance from National Park Service’s River, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program.
  • Midcoast Council of Governments has applied for and received a $20,000 Regional Challenge Grant from the State Planning Office to support the development of a corridor study of the proposed route of the Merrymeeting Trail.
  • Received cash assistance from each of the four towns and the Friends of the Kennebec River Trail.
  • Dan Stewart, State Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator, gave a presentation on similiar trail projects in the state and protential for state involvement.
  • Midcoast Council of Goverments has secured $10,000 from MDOT for the corridor planning study.
  • Midcoast Council of Governments selected VHB to conduct the feasibility study for the proposed Merrymeeting Trail.
  • Logo Sketch The Midcoast Council of Governments hired VHB for the feasibility study of the proposed Merrymeeting Trail.
  • The Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund has awarded the Midcoast Council of Governments a grant of $13,500 for the Merrymeeting Trail initiative. This additional funding will allow us to expand the scope of work for our corridor study to include some additional design work on the first segment of the trail.
  • We have selected this logo on the left for the Merrymeeting Trail to be consistent with the Kennebec River Rail Trail logo. We hope to have the final design complete shortly.
  • To keep updated on our progress sign up for e-newsletter here