Partners for New Mountain Bike Trails
Georges River Land Trust (GRLT) is launching the development of mountain bike trails in the Thomaston Town Forest, with a collaborative partnership between the Town of Thomaston, McNEMBA (Midcoast New England Mountain Bike Association), Sidecountry Sports, as well as other local businesses and organizations. The terrain is well suited to host all-season mountain bike trails serving all levels of rider abilities, with connectivity to bordering trail networks.
John Anders, GRLT Trails Manager, explains the vision for phase one of this project as enhancing entry-level riding opportunities and serving as a destination for visiting riders. The analysis of the recreational resources in the Thomaston Comprehensive Plan describes “a need for a greater variety of programs, ones that serve younger children, those interested in non-team sports (skiing, skating, hiking, bicycling).” Legitimate mountain bike trails in the midcoast have been limited to Camden and Rockport over the last ten years. The creation of another mountain bike trail system in the Midcoast will continue to strengthen support for mountain biking in the region. With the generous $10,000 pledge of support from Sidecountry Sports in Rockland, the project is taking shape along with another generous donation from Bay Chiropractic.
This and future projects will eventually connect the Thomaston Town Forest with trail networks across four towns, serving both local riders and visitors to the Midcoast. The project will offer an increase in beginner terrain for riders. The Thomaston Town Forest is accessible to the Town Center, neighborhoods, as well as the Thomaston Middle and Grammar schools through a variety of non-motorized transportation options. Bicycling activity is currently limited to paved surfaces used by children commuting to school, recreational cyclists, and some bicycle commuting to work.
Beverly St. Clair, chair of the Thomaston Conservation Committee, says, “I love the idea of including a bike trail to the Thomaston Town Forest. Biking and bike clubs are a great way to interact and have fun at the same time, and hopefully this will morph into something even bigger with connected trails from town to town.” Another exciting part of this project is the involvement with the nearby Oceanside Middle School. Principal William Gifford calls this project “the best news of the year,” and the school is applying for grants to develop a mountain biking program as an addition to their physical education programming.