The Bicycle Coalition of Maine today announced Main Street Skowhegan, Mahoosuc Pathways, and Kingfield Trail Builders as the recipients of this year’s BikeMaine Grants, funded by the proceeds from the organization’s annual cycling tour, BikeMaine.
“BikeMaine was conceived as an event that would use cycling as an economic benefit tool for local communities,” BikeMaine Ride Director MaryBeth Luce said. “The BikeMaine grants will directly support these organizations’ efforts to make their communities more bike and pedestrian friendly.”
Main Street Skowhegan will receive $10,000, Mahoosuc Pathways will receive $3,250, and Kingfield Trail Builders will receive $3,025 to fund their projects.
Main Street Skowhegan will use the funding to expand a 5-kilometer loop in the Run of River Whitewater Recreation Area so it can accommodate cyclists as well as pedestrians and become suitable for four-season use. Main Street Skowhegan Executive Director Kristina Cannon said the newly expanded loop will eventually incorporate a robust network of single-track off-road trails for mountain bikers, as well.
“Trail development is a major part of the proposed Run of River Recreation Area, and our intention is to grow our downtown trail system to 300 acres, an effort that will complement the future whitewater park in the Kennebec gorge,” Cannon said.
Mahoosuc Pathways Executive Director Gabe Perkins said his organization, based in Bethel, will apply the funding to the improvement of mountain bike trails at the Crescent Park School.
“We can’t think of too many elementary schools with sustainably designed and built mountain bike trails and that’s what made this project so attractive to us,” Perkins said. “Not only will it be a well built trail for students and community members, but it could also attract more people to our community who are looking at trail-based recreation as a deciding factor in where to relocate.”
Kingfield Trail Builders plans to use the grant money to improve non-motorized trails and trail connections, install shared bike-lane markings, and add bikes racks in key locations around Kingfield.
“Kingfield Trail Builders is thrilled to receive this grant from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine,” spokesperson Polly MacMichael said. “We are excited to partner with the Kingfield community as we work toward our goal to make Kingfield a safe and fun place for bicyclists and pedestrians alike.”
BikeMaine is a week-long celebration of Maine’s people, places, culture, and food, and moves to a different region of the state each year. BikeMaine 2018, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s signature event, takes place from Sept. 8 to Sept. 15. Dubbed Acadia In the St. John Valley – La Terre Entre Deux, this year’s event begins and ends in Presque Isle, with overnight stops in Caribou, Madawaska (two nights), Fort Kent (two nights), and St. Agatha.
The 2018 awards represent the third year of BikeMaine grant funding. The Town of Gardiner received the inaugural BikeMaine Grant, in the amount of $12,300, to fund the extension of the Cobbossee Trail, which connects the Kennebec River Trail to the town’s historic Cobbossee Corridor. The Washington County Council of Governments and the City of Bath received last year’s grants, which helped to fund bike repair kiosks along the Bold Coast Bikeway and a pump-track for Bath students, respectively.
Skowhegan and Kingfield were host communities for last year’s BikeMaine event, and Bethel was a BikeMaine host community for the 2015 BikeMaine event.