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City Council asked to back waterfront to wilderness trail

By Stephen Betts | Jul 05, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Rockland City Councilor Ben Dorr, center, reviews the proposed waterfront-to-wilderness path. Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Chair Sarah Austin is pictured at left. Also making the presentation July 1 was John Anders, trail manager for Georges River Land Trust.

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.

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Comments (7)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 07, 2019 12:14

Very poor time to be considered. Do it privately or not at all. Long time residents struggling by on Social Security and to keep up with taxes would appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jul 07, 2019 10:16

Anyone that has gone hiking in the bog within the last 10 years please step forward.  Now I would like to speak with you both for a minute.  Hiking trails, parks and recreational activities are all worthy endeavors, but the writing on the wall is real easy to read here.  The newly formed (by the city council) parks and recreation committee with outstretched hands will soon propose the City assist in the purchase of the Hall's Heirs land and with other financial assistance.  If you two wish to hike that is fine with me, just don't ask others to pay for your sport.  I willingly assisted the gardening committee until the City Council asked the volunteers to pay for flowers to be planted in the city parks and roadways.  If Rockland has no money to pay for a few flowers to beautify the city for ALL to enjoy, I am sure they can not afford a hiking trail.  Which reminds me, each summer thousands of locals and tourists enjoy walking the breakwater, but end up peeing in the woods.  The City decided they could not afford public restrooms.  Let's pick our priority's.  If Marion Hall was alive today, I am confident she would donate the land to the city.

Posted by: James York | Jul 06, 2019 21:20

Can't agree more with Orioles fan on South Main. A decent wage/rent/mortgage - a decent tax bill for residents.. along with decent schools, roads and sidewalks should be the priority. The hikers will find their way in the bog. We don't need any city action there right now.

Posted by: Alan Heal | Jul 05, 2019 15:16

The Rockland bog is a gem. I have have been through most of the solid land and trudged through some of the marsh and cranberry bog. A site to behold.  My concern is the up keep and maintenance of said trail. Right now you have a group of people who are enthusiastic about it. What happens when that group has turned their emphasis on some other project. All of a sudden do we have city workers out there cleaning and maintaining. I certainly hope not ,those people have enough to do.

Now the first thing I will hear is Camden Hills trails are kept nice. Any projects that go on up there are supervised by a state park ranger. I am all for people seeing what I have seen but put in your plan a contingency for the up keep not at the expense of city taxpayers

Alan Heal Life long resident

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jul 05, 2019 13:02

Great idea. Hopefully all will appreciate your efforts and enjoy the benefits. Having walked these trails years past, any improvement is welcome. Although they were well kept up for our benefit.  It is good the see the people rally around such treasures!

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever +0)

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jul 05, 2019 11:40

People only have to look at the City infrastructure, such as roads and sidewalks, and the taxes to decide if they choose to live here. Most people want to be able to make descent wage. Perhaps that should be a priority instead of worrying about a group of hikers. We don't have to have everything Camden has.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jul 05, 2019 11:39

People only have to look at the City infrastructure, such as roads and sidewalks, and the taxes to decide if they choose to live here. Most people want to be able to make descent wage. Perhaps that should be a priority instead of worrying about a group of hikers. We don't have to have everything Camden has.

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