Mountain bikers ride Carrie On trail after it was dedicated in November, officially opening the 1.3-mile course at Mount Apatite in Auburn. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN — Mount Apatite in Auburn will receive $25,000 for upgrades, including trail signs and parking, continuing a year of momentum at the park.

The 300-acre recreational area in the western part of the city features an extensive trail system that has received more attention this year from trail users and trail stewards alike — people looking to get outside and stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City Council on Monday approved reallocating $25,000 in previously-approved capital improvement funding to Mount Apatite to to improve parking, trail signs and new master trail maps.

According to a breakdown of the budget from Recreation Director Sabrina Best, $8,500 will go toward parking improvements at the Small Road entrance, specifically meant to make access easier for snowmobile trailers.

Another $16,500 will go toward improved signs, which City Manager Phil Crowell said will include updates to the master trail map and an emergency numbering system.

Best said the city will improve or install a new master trail map at the park’s two main entrances, and add trail signs with “possible arrows and distances to either entrance” along major trails.

The work will also update the trail map on a printout provided at both entrance kiosks.

Wil Libby guided efforts by trail crews and volunteers to build the “Carrie On” trail.

The city has partnered with the central Maine chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association for some of the work, with $1,500 going to the organization for in-kind services. For the parking improvements, roughly $6,500 will go toward gravel, with the remaining $2,000 going to equipment rentals.

Central Maine NEMBA has supported programming at the park, which this past summer included a trail steward program led by Wil Libby of Turner, a professional trail-builder and executive director of the nonprofit Evergreen Outdoor Education.

The program, as well as Libby’s efforts to build a new section of mountain bike trail named Carrie On, which officially opened Nov. 8, has been part of the park’s momentum this year. Libby said in September that more people than ever are taking advantage of the trail system.

Carrie On was named in memory of Carrie Boudreau, an avid mountain biker from Raymond who passed away from cancer in April at the age of 53.

Friends of Mount Apatite, as well as skiing and snowmobiling clubs have also played an integral role in maintaining the park’s trails.

During a workshop Monday, officials discussed efforts to form more cohesive trail mapping for Auburn’s recreational trails. Best said staff is working to update the city’s park finder map and is working with Bates College to have students conduct trail mapping.

She said despite having a wealth of recreational land and trails, Auburn does not have a “centralized” hub for trails, and trail maps are usually found on the websites of individual organizations or clubs.

During the discussion, Councilor Katie Boss said the “connectivity” of Auburn’s trail system — helping users get from one area of the city to another — can be an economic driver.


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