CAMDEN — The Select Board voted 4-0 to provide a revocable license agreement with Coastal Mountains Land Trust for the use of a 4.5-acre parcel of town-owned land to better access the Goose River Bike Trails off Rollins Road.

Ryan Gates and Heather Rogers of the land trust met with the Select Board Nov. 1 and proposed not only this temporary license, but to consider transferring ownership of the property to the trust, or creating some kind of permanent conservation agreement for the land. That would require voter approval in a town meeting. (Select Board member Stephanie French was absent, which is why the vote was 4-0).

The trust recently acquired about 100 acres as part of the Ragged Mountain Preserve. The local mountain biking community, represented largely by the Midcoast Maine chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association, has constructed a network of trails used for biking, trail running, hiking and cross-country skiing. The biggest challenge has been access.

The present access has two privately owned parking spaces, and the owners of the property encourage people to park at the nearby Camden Snow Bowl. However, biking from Snow Bowl to this access can be difficult for beginners. Another access point off Wiley Road in Rockport would require bridging the Goose River at a wide point.

The town has a small piece of property off Rollins Road that could serve as an improved trail head and provide 6-8 parking spaces. Gates said the Coastal Mountains Land Trust would not want to invest in a lot of work on the parcel, however, until it had ownership or some kind of permanent arrangement. The temporary revocable license agreement would not be adequate.

Source: Camden Select Board meeting packet

The Select Board expressed some support for the idea.

“We might as well just enshrine it,” Vice Chair Alison McKellar said.

Other board members said that while they were supportive they wanted to make sure they went through the right process for this kind of land transfer. McKellar said she would like to put it on the fastest track possible.

The Select Board received letters of support for the project from the land trust, the Midcoast Maine chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association and Sidecountry Sports owners Andrew Dailey and M. Brian Kelly.

Photos of the Town of Camden property off Rollins Road. Source: Select Board packet.