The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is now accepting public comment on a plan to connect Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal with Pineland public lands in the Gray-New Gloucester area.

The draft plan calls for a single 7-mile corridor that links the two properties in North Yarmouth. Proponents like the single trail plan and say it leaves a great chunk of undeveloped public space for recreation and wildlife.

Opponents say a single large trail will deter people who want short hikes or have only a limited time for recreation. They would like a number of shorter trails to branch off the main corridor. 

“People want some loop options,” said Brian Stearns, a Bradbury Mountain volunteer and a member of the corridor plan’s advisory committee. Without those options, he said, “I think people are going to find a different place to go.”

The Bradbury Mountain State Park-Pineland began more than 10 years ago when a group of Pownal residents wanted to connect the two large public properties. A Land For Maine’s Future grant helped purchase the needed property.

Work has already begun on the corridor, and the Bureau of Parks and Lands hopes to have portions of the trail open in 2011. At issue is whether that main trail will be the only one.

The bureau is taking public comment on the draft plan. Comments may be submitted in writing to Rex Turner, outdoor recreation planner, at the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, 22 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333, or in e-mail to Written comment will be accepted for about a month.

The bureau will also hold a public hearing from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, at Memorial Elementary School in New Gloucester.

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