Bike trail mapping session planned at Mountain Valley High School

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RUMFORD — The River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition will hold a bike route-mapping session from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5 in Room 302 at Mountain Valley High School.

A recent news release said participants will be asked to help identify common bike routes as well as key destinations, amenities and sections of road that need safety improvements.

All information gathered at the session will be to create two maps: one will provide bikers with popular and safe bike routes in the region, and the other will show where signs and road improvements are needed to make bike riding safer.

Barbara Rajaniemi, a member of the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition, said anyone interested in riding a bike is invited to attend.

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“We’re going to have light refreshments available,” Rajaniemi said, “and anybody who attends and tells us where their favorite places to ride are will automatically get entered for the chance to win a door prize.”

Rajaniemi said some of the door prizes available include a gift certificate to Chase Cyclery in Andover, a series of gas cards and gift cards to Hannaford.

The maps are expected to be completed by late spring, Rajaniemi said.

The mapping sessions are part of a campaign called Oxford County Moves, which is led Healthy Oxford Hills, a project of Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway.

Brandon Schauffler, the Active Community Environment coordinator for Healthy Oxford Hills, said Friday that the purpose of holding different mapping events across the county is to “try and find safer and more practical ways for people to bike.

“We’ve gotten a lot of really good information from these mapping sessions,” he said. “We also have released online and print surveys, and some of those trickle in every now and then, but it’s the mapping sessions where we’ve gotten the richest information.”

Schauffler said he hopes to be able to map out the entire county and have maps available for the public by May.

“It’ll take a little bit longer to draw up the maps where signs and road improvements are needed, but we’re hoping to have those available by late summer,” Schauffler said.

Previous mapping sessions were held in the Oxford Hills region in November, and a mapping session is planned for Bethel on Feb. 13.

The mapping sessions are a partnership of Healthy Oxford Hills, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, Oxford County GIS and local Active Community Environment Teams, which includes the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition in Rumford.

For more information, call Schauffler of Healthy Oxford Hills at 890-6323, or call the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition at 364-7408.

mdaigle@sunjournal.com

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