Uniting for trails. Help pass the Maine Trails Bond!

In by Rebecka Dykstra

Posted March 4, 2024

Calling all outdoor recreation enthusiasts in Maine! A crucial decision is approaching that will impact the future of outdoor recreation in our state: the Maine Trails Bond. With the potential to inject $30 million into trail design, construction, and maintenance, the bond will be a much needed boost for outdoor enthusiasts, businesses, and communities alike.

As this proposal is considered in Augusta, it’s imperative that we, as Maine’s outdoor community, unite our voices and urge our legislators to support the Maine Trails Bond.

Background: The Maine Trails Bond (LD 1156) is currently before the Maine Legislature. This $30 million bond would be a first-ever significant investment by the State of Maine in the design, development, and maintenance of non-motorized, motorized, and diverse use trails statewide. Since 2007, Maine voters have approved more than $1 billion in highway bonds, but they have never been given a chance to invest in Maine’s off-road infrastructure – our trails.  The time has come to do so.

Why Maine Trails Matter: Maine’s trails are not just pathways through nature; they support our $3.3 billion outdoor recreation economy, are sources of recreation, and conduits of community connection. From hiking and biking to snowmobiling and skiing, our trails offer something for everyone, drawing residents and visitors alike to explore the breathtaking landscapes of our state. However, despite their importance, many of our trails are in dire need of repair and enhancement, especially after recent storms.

The Impact of the Maine Trails Bond: Administered by the Bureau of Parks and Lands, the bond will provide competitive grant funding over four years to towns, organizations, and clubs for trail projects. What’s more, it will prioritize accessibility and sustainable design standards, ensuring that trails are inclusive and built to last.

Who Supports This: Maine Outdoor Brands has joined with more than 500 organizations, businesses, and towns across Maine who are urging the Legislature to send the Maine Trails Bond to the November ballot. The Maine Trails Bond, sponsored by Representative Jessica Fay (D-Raymond), has bipartisan support.

Why Action Is Needed Now: The decision on the Maine Trails Bond looms large, with April marking a critical juncture in the process as legislators weigh different priorities. It needs a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, and the governor’s signature of approval, to place it on the November 2024 ballot for consideration by Maine voters.

Maine Outdoor Brands has testified in support, published an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News, and advocated at the State House. Join us in advocating for this important initiative!

How You Can Make a Difference:

  1. Contact Your Legislators: Reach out to your state legislators and urge them to support the Maine Trails Bond. Express your passion for outdoor recreation and the transformative impact that well-maintained trails can have on our communities. Find your Maine legislators here.
  2. Spread the Word: Use your voice on social media to raise awareness about the Maine Trails Bond and the importance of investing in our trails. MOB has assembled a folder of shareable assets to get you started.
  3. Educate Others: Take the time to inform your friends, family, and colleagues about the significance of the Maine Trails Bond. Encourage them to join the movement and advocate for our trails.

The Maine Trails Bond represents more than just funding for trails; it symbolizes a commitment to preserving our natural landscapes, fostering economic growth, and ensuring equitable access to outdoor recreation for all. Now is the time to act. Contact your legislators, spread the word, and let your voice be heard in support of Maine trails.