South Portland Land Trust to Open New Clark’s Pond Extension Trail
South Portland Land Trust will celebrate the opening of its new recreational trail when it holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, September 24 at 10 a.m. to open the new Clark’s Pond Extension Trail. The ceremony, which will be held in conjunction with National Public Lands Day, will take place along a new portion of the trail, located between Maine Air National Guard and Irving Station (along Western Avenue).
Elected political leaders and city officials will join South Portland Land Trust Chairman Alex Redfield for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The opening of the Extension Trail creates a 2.1 mile trail, allowing pedestrians to circle the entire pond.
Completion of the loop trail is the culmination of a nearly 15-year effort to secure the necessary easement and use-rights agreements from the Air National Guard, Life Storage, and Spirit Realty ( owners of the Irving station property). Since the establishment of the land trust’s West End Trail Committee in 2006, the trust previously completed the initial 1.1 mile Clark’s Pond Trail in 2007 and later constructed the Long Creek, Red Brook and South Branch trails. Each trail is located within the greater Maine Mall area.
A citywide trail map is available at www.SouthPortlandLandTrust.org.
Built almost exclusively by volunteers and with funding from a Community Development Block Grant, the Davis Conservation Fund, and support from the Maine Community Foundation, the Clark’s Pond Trail is part of the trust’s vision to help make the game west of the city more accessible and livable for city residents and visitors. By creating walkways that connect neighborhoods to areas where many businesses and schools are located, pedestrians now have safe and enjoyable access through some of the city’s most natural, scenic and historic landmarks. The land trust hopes its projects will increase environmental stewardship and support the ongoing efforts of the Long Creek Restoration and Revitalization Project.
Although there are several examples of successful planning in the area, the western area of the city has been associated with sprawling private development and commercial and industrial complexes, traffic congestion and a lack of pedestrian access. The trust’s board established the West End Trails Committee in 2006, building partnerships with area stakeholders, including local businesses, City of South Portland employees, as well as other organizations environmental and pedestrian. The West End Trail committee is now chaired by Pete Carney, the executive director of the Long Creek Watershed Management District.
Land trust members, local residents and area businesses interested in working on the trails and/or fundraising, and/or anyone wanting more training are encouraged to access its website (www. SouthPortlandLandTrust.org), South Portland Land Trust Facebook page, or email [email protected]
The Land Trust is committed to the belief that its trails and open space projects will have a positive impact on the health and safety of city residents, and will also enhance identity, vitality and overall quality of life. neighborhoods and residential areas of South Portland. Creating more natural features will also support the education goals of the trust, including understanding environmental stewardship and appreciating local history. This will increase public and private awareness and commitment to preserve and protect open spaces and natural environmental features.
Additionally, pedestrian projects will result in energy conservation by providing healthy and safe alternatives for off-road access. The trust recognizes that its pedestrian projects, through the creation of natural buffers (such as the South Branch, Long Creek and Redd Brook trails), will build environmental conservation awareness and foster community stewardship. As the trails will provide access and a buffer zone for a large population, the natural areas within the surrounding boundaries of the trail network will be protected and preserved.
The National Environmental Education Foundation’s 29th Annual Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest one-day volunteer effort for public lands. Through this event, the foundation strives to connect people to public lands in their community, inspire environmental stewardship, and encourage the use of public lands for education, recreation, and health. in general.
To encourage people to participate and visit their public lands, National Public Lands Day is a free day for all federal public lands and many state parks. Whether you’re volunteering on National Public Lands Day, boating, hiking, fishing, or camping, or simply learning more about your public lands and the plants and wildlife that live there live, we invite you to take advantage of this day to enjoy the great outdoors and celebrate the lands that give us so much.
Follow the National Environmental Education Foundation on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates and engage with the community through the #NPLD hashtag.
Dana Bettez is Membership and Engagement Manager for South Portland Land Trust. She can be reached at [email protected]
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