Waterfront to Wilderness
ROCKLAND — The Rockland Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee wants the go-ahead from the City Council to pursue creation of a recreational trail from the harbor to the Bog.
The City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolve in support of such a plan at its meeting Monday, July 8.
Committee Chair Sarah Austin said there was a lot of public interest in the trail, which has been talked about for many years.
A formal vote of support by the council would allow the committee to continue work, including contacting landowners about possible easements, as well as seeking grants if they become available.
The city already owns much of the land along potential routes for the path, she said. A trail system that is accessible to a lot of people could attract people to Rockland, Austin said.
Councilor Ben Dorr agreed. “This seems like a no-brainer,” Dorr said. “People drive to Camden Hills State Park to hike.”
Austin said the development of the trail would be similar to the Harbor Trail, which could take two years or 20 years to complete.
The advisory committee voted in June to support the creation of the trail. There is no defined path yet, but one potential route would go from Oceanside High School to Jaycee Park on Old County Road, across to West Meadow Road and then to the Bog.
“Rockland is a very much waterfront-focused community in some ways, but we have amazing land and ecosystems in the inland portions of the city boundary,” Austin said.
John Anders, trail manager with the Georges River Land Trust, said the Bog is similar in size to Camden Hills State Park. The land trust is working with neighboring Thomaston on the trails in the Thomaston Town Forest, and that could connect to the Rockland Bog trail.
In addition, he pointed out that Coastal Mountains Land Trust is working on a trail system around Ragged Mountain.
“The thought of the trail system connecting some day is pretty significant for health, social and even economic reasons. People move to communities where there are trails. Businesses move where there are quality trails. This would be pretty darn special,” he said.
The Bog consists of about 6,000 acres of largely forested lands. About a third is owned by Rockland or land trusts.
One key piece that is privately owned, Anders noted, is property owned by the Hall family. That parcel consists of 63 acres owned by Marion Hall’s heirs located on West Meadow Road and extends to almost the Bog Road.