MADRID TOWNSHIP — A bridge that spans the Perham Stream has been in poor shape for the past three years. But thanks to the tireless efforts of volunteers, it will again offer access to some of western Maine’s most spectacular scenery.

Built on the former Narrow Gauge railroad bed, the snowmobile and ATV trail connects with ITS 84/89 and the Moose Loop ATV trail, connecting Rangeley, Phillips, Salem, Weld and beyond.

The original Perham Stream bridge, which was damaged heavily in 2012 during Tropical Storm Irene, was cobbled together with pieces of iron from the original structure. But it was unsafe and deteriorating steadily, so groups with shared interests decided to remedy the situation.

High Peaks Alliance, North Franklin Snowmobile Club, Narrow Gauge Riders ATV Club and landowner Mark Beauregard collaborated, provided land easements, applied for grants and presented their vision to Franklin County commissioners.

On Saturday, three years later, two dozen celebrants hiked, biked and drove to the new 80-foot wooden bridge over Perham Stream.

“I’m really thrilled to be at this stage of the project,” High Peaks Alliance spokeswoman Nancy Perlson told the audience.


Funding for the steel single-span bridge included Maine’s Recreational Trails Program, the Franklin County Tax Increment Finance program and the Betterment Fund.

Since Madrid Township has no municipal government, budgeting for such recreational-use projects falls to state and Franklin County decision makers.

County Commissioner Gary McGrane told the audience that the dollar value of the work of nonprofit organizations and volunteers isn’t always visible, but they are a significant part of Maine’s economy. Maine volunteers donate at least 350,000 hours of their time annually.

“Nonprofit groups contribute $10 billion per year to Maine’s economy,” he said.

That figure includes wages paid, retail and wholesale sales, and professional services contracted, according to the Maine Association of Nonprofits. The work was done by Anson contractor N.F. Luce Inc.

The bridge is now open for public motorized and non-motorized recreation, with a vehicle width restriction of 60 inches.

Side-by-side off-road vehicles have very little extra space between the two entry points at each end, so riders must use caution. Exceptions will be made for snowmobile trail groomers.

For more information about the bridge, call 416-4952, or visit

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