A legislative committee unanimously endorsed a proposed $30 million bond Friday that would provide grants to organizations and communities for motorized, non-motorized and multi-use trail projects.

The Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee voted in support of L.D. 1156, which now heads to votes in the House and Senate. Two-thirds approval is needed in each chamber for the bond request to be sent to voters in November.

“Putting some investment dollars towards this will come back in future returns with people coming to our state to utilize these trails,” said Rep. Mark Blier, R-Buxton, prior to the committee’s vote. “It’s something I’m very much in favor of.”

The bond would provide grants to nonprofits, municipalities and government agencies to support motorized, non-motorized and multi-use trails statewide.

Projects would need to attract at least 10% in matching contributions to participate in the Maine Trails Program, which would be overseen by the Bureau of Parks and Lands.

Twenty-five percent of the funding would support projects that are exclusively for motorized uses, 25 percent would be for non-motorized uses, and 50 percent would be available for multi-use projects. All would have to be available for public use.


Rep. Jessica Fay, D-Raymond, the bill’s sponsor, said she is hoping the money could be used to help make trails more accessible for people who can’t otherwise get outdoors or access trails. “For me, that’s a really exciting piece of this,” she said.

A feature on Timber Point, a large preserve protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The Timber Trail is 1.4 miles and leads out to the waterfront overlooking Goose Rocks Beach and Timber Island in Biddeford. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

The legislation would provide the first opportunity ever for Maine voters to support a trails bond, according to the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

The council said last month that this winter’s storms and floods have caused serious damage to many trails, increasing the sense of urgency for funding to help communities, trail clubs and land trusts with needed repairs.

“From Caribou to Kittery and Calais to Eustis, Maine people, towns, and businesses are urging the Legislature to send the Trails Bond to the November 2024 ballot,” Pete Didisheim, advocacy director for the council, said in a statement. “The Trails Bond provides a rare opportunity for people across Maine to find common ground on a resource we all value – trails.”

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