March 8, 2024

Support for Maine Trails Bond

Support for Maine Trails Bond

By Matt Markot, Executive Director at Loon Echo Land Trust,
As seen in the Bridgton News, 3/7/24

I am writing today to express my support for Maine’s first-ever Trails Bond. If passed, the bond would invest a much needed $30 million to support our state’s outdoor recreation industry. Maine trails play a vital role in our economy, generating hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The situation is no different here in the Lake Region, where hiking trails, snowmobile trails, and ATV trails are a big part of our way of life. At Loon Echo Land Trust, the organization I work for, we annually host over 50,000 users on our trail networks alone. The real number of trail users in the Lake Region is likely double that.

The reality is that many of our trails in the Lake Region and across Maine need repair due to high levels of use, erosion, and extreme weather. It’s also getting harder for land trusts and snowmobile and ATV clubs to rely on the generosity of volunteers to maintain trail networks, especially given the backlog of deferred maintenance.

Trails in the Lake Region are a huge draw for visitors. They are a big reason why people come from all over the world to our corner of Maine. Trail-based tourism also helps local businesses that are situated near trails and provide services to trail users. The Trails Bond will support local businesses that depend on trail users.

There are also huge opportunities to grow our trail networks and create opportunities for Mainers to build trail-based businesses. At LELT, we’ve raised and spent over $250,000 in just the last four years on trail projects at places like Pondicherry Park, Peabody-Fitch Woods, and Pleasant Mountain. The vast majority of that funding has been used to pay local contractors for their services. We have big plans for our trail networks, which means big opportunities for local businesses, but we need investment from the State of Maine to realize the potential that exists.  

Investing in Maine trails is good for Maine’s economy. More than 500 organizations, businesses and towns across Maine have already endorsed what would be a first-ever trails bond. Please join me in calling and emailing our legislators to urge them to vote in favor of this greatly needed investment for Maine’s trails. That would send this bond to the ballot in November and give Maine people the choice to invest in trails – I’m betting they will.

-Matt Markot, LELT Executive Director and trail user.


You can learn more about the Maine Trails Bond and ways to support it here:

LELT Executive Director testifies in front of the Appropriations Committee in support of the Maine Trails Bond in April 2023.
Matt Markot walks with LELT service area legislators Representative Jessica Fay and Senator Richard Bennett on the all access trail in Pondicherry Park in September 2022. Thank you to Rep Fay and Senator Bennett for sponsoring and cosponsoring this bill and for their great support of our work!
Loon echo land trust

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