Makes use of unused rail corridor
The 26-mile Merrymeeting Trail will once again make the Augusta Lower Road rail corridor — unused for decades — an asset for the region.
Connects communities and supports downtowns
The Merrymeeting Trail will connect the Androscoggin River Bicycle and Pedestrian Path in Topsham, downtown Bowdoinham, Richmond, Gardiner, and the Kennebec River Rail Trail to Augusta. These downtown connections will make it easy for people using the trail to access downtowns and visit local businesses.
Showcases the scenery of Merrymeeting Bay
Merrymeeting Bay is a place with statewide ecological significance and one of only four locations in the world where rivers meet to form a freshwater tidal delta. Much of the shore of Merrymeeting Bay does not currently have public access. This trail will provide a way for people to view and access the Bay and experience this hidden jewel in midcoast Maine.
Provides a safe space for recreation, exploration, and exercise
Between 2014 and 2018 in Maine, 1,389 pedestrians and 960 cyclists were hit by vehicles. The Merrymeeting Trail will provide a safe off-road route for pedestrians and bicycles and can help to save lives.
Benefits local economies
A recent study found that the Merrymeeting Trail and the three other trails that compose the Capital to Coast Trail system could have an estimated economic impact of $1-10 million per year in trail user spending on hard goods, soft goods, and accommodations.
Supports health in our communities
The same study highlights research that shows people tend to exercise more if they have access to nearby trails. This exercise translates to better health, and has been shown to correlate to a $300 reduction in per-capita medical costs. Within 20 miles of Merrymeeting Trail and the three other trails in the Capital to Coast Trail system, there are 122,000 people that would have immediate access to these benefits.