By Aimee Dolloff, Of the NEWS Staff - CORINNA - Tourists now have another reason to visit Maine year-round. A 30-mile recreation trail from Newport to Corinna officially opened Saturday after a ribbon-cutting ceremony.Nearly 100 people attended the event, some bringing all-terrain vehicles with them to check out the route. The name of the trail - the Four Seasons Adventure Trail - also was announced at the ceremony.
"It'll bring tourism to the area year-round now," Steve Ramsey, Department of Conservation off-road vehicle director, said Saturday.
The trail is designed for use year-round by hikers, snowmobile riders, mountain bikers, all-terrain vehicle users and more.
"It's really amazing to think that they can all use this trail together," said Dave Soucy, director of Maine's Bureau of Parks and Lands.
Access to bodies of water along the trail also allows for canoeing and kayaking, Ramsey said.
"We hope to add some more to it as time goes on," Ramsey said. Organizers already are looking at purchasing an additional tract in Newport. Ramsey said the most significant aspect of the trail for him is the diverse group of people, from local residents to members of the governor's office, that helped make the project possible.
Fund raising for the venture began 12 years ago, and though difficult at times, the Department of Conservation, the Central Maine Trails Coalition, residents and elected town and state officials worked together to make the $1.35 million project a reality.
In addition to raising money for the creation of the trail, the coalition has earmarked $61,000 for trail maintenance along the rail bed corridor that forms the multirecreational trail.
"It's obviously worth all the effort," Soucy said. "This trail has a tremendous economic benefit for the communities."
One business along the trail already has begun planning for such tourism opportunities, according to Ramsey.
Owners of The Bears Den in Dover-Foxcroft built six cabins in October 2002 with the intent of renting them to tourists using the trail.
The trail officially is open and safe for use, but there are some areas that still require work.
"We would encourage people to be cautious in some places," Ramsey said. "The wet spring has left large mud puddles in some areas and a few of the bridges are in need of new decking."
Ramsey also asked that trail-goers be respectful of one another, as there are a variety of recreational opportunities the trail can be used for.
"We've excellent support [from trail users] as long as they have a little courtesy and ethics," he said.
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