PENOBSCOT & HANCOCK COUNTIES – Mountain biking enthusiasts said a $10,000 grant from the New England Mountain Biking Association is going to bring new trails to Orland.
While Hancock County is known for its gateways to nature, the region lacks any single track trails specifically designed for mountain biking.
Now some nature lovers are trying to change that, by putting in more than three miles of trail at Great Pond Mountain in Orland.
“We get people calling all the time looking for a single track in that region, and they have to come all the way back to the Bangor area to ride,” said Craig MacDonald, the Penobscot Chapter President of the New England Mountain Biking Association (NEMBA).
Craig MacDonald helped to put in mountain biking trails at Essex Woods in Bangor.
The trail was made by stacking rocks on top of each other, and then covering them with dirt.
Since the drops and curves were put in last year, MacDonald said the Essex Woods are being used a lot more.
“Once we started constructing the new type of trail, the kids started to come out and ride,” said MacDonald. “We had a family clinic, we had a women’s clinic.”
Those with the Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust said mountain biking trails have been on the back burner for years.
Together with NEMBA, they just built three tenths of a trail to test out if it would work.
And now thanks to some grant money received a few weeks ago, they’re looking to put in a network of trails near the Dead River Gate entrance, and possibly even up to the top of Great Pond Mountain.
“We want to bring as many people as we can without negatively impacting the resource,” said Shawn Mercer, a land steward for Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust.
Those behind the project said they hope it can bring some extra tourism dollars to the greater Bucksport area.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to help Bucksport recreate itself,” said Mercer.
“There’s more than just an economic benefit, there’s a health benefit for the local community as well,” said MacDonald.
According to MacDonald, construction on the trails could start as early as this summer and finish by the fall.
To raise the rest of the money needed for the trails, he said they may host a bike race as a fundraiser.