Governor Signs Bill Authorizing Multi-Use Trail from Standish to Fryeburg

(Portland, Maine) July 07, 2023 – Governor Janet Mills has signed LD 404 into law, which authorizes the MaineDOT to construct a multi-use trail on the old Mountain Division Rail Line between Fryeburg and Standish. The bill was passed by a large majority in the Maine Senate and House of Representatives, demonstrating the legislature’s belief in the value of investing in trails for recreation and transportation. With the Governor’s signature, an interim trail can now be built on 31 miles of unused rail corridor. 

For the Mountain Division Alliance and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, the action represents the fulfillment of a dream they have both worked on for more than twenty years. 

“The passage by both houses of the state legislature and the signing by the Governor of LD 404 is the culmination of 30 years of work by many individuals, organizations, and municipalities,” said Mountain Division Alliance President Dave Kinsman.  

“The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has long recognized the value of converting the unused Mountain Division rail corridor into a trail, and we join with many partners in celebrating that work on this trail is now imminent” said the Coalition’s executive director, Jean Sideris. 

The bill’s passage into law is the end of a long process. After a 7-month review of potential rail and non-rail uses for the Mountain Division rail corridor from Standish to Fryeburg, the 12-member Mountain Division Rail Use Advisory Council (RUAC) voted 11-1 to recommend the interim conversion of 31 miles of the existing railroad track to an interim 10’-wide paved bicycle and pedestrian trail. The MaineDOT reviewed the proposal and backed the bill to move forward with authorizing the creation of a trail. 

Under Maine law, the conversion of rail lines to trails is always interim until such time as the return of train operations is viable. “Trail until rail” is how DOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note characterizes such projects. 

Once completed, the Mountain Division Trail will be a continuous 40-mile trail from South Windham to Fryeburg going through Gorham, Windham, Standish, Baldwin, Hiram, Brownfield, and Fryeburg. Eventually, it will connect with Portland on the eastern end and New Hampshire to the west. 

The Mountain Division Trail is expected to be both a recreational asset and an important transportation route for active transportation. Paul Schumacher, the President of the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission noted: “The passage of LD404 creates a pivotal moment and opportunity for the residents and towns along the western section of the Mountain Division Rail Corridor.  The confluence of this opportunity with availability of grants and other funds brings the reality of accelerated economic development in the form of new businesses, real estate development, health benefits, and tourism within our reach.“


The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the statewide voice of cyclists and pedestrians. Since 1992, the BCM has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling and walking by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through education, advocacy, legislation, and encouragement. We support biking and walking for health, transportation, and recreation. For more information, visit

The Mountain Division Alliance’s mission is to work with the nine communities along the Mountain Division Rail corridor, Maine Department of Transportation, and other organizations and stakeholders to create a safe, welcoming, contiguous trail that connects existing paved portions of the trail to provide for active transportation and recreation opportunities from Fryeburg to Portland. For more information about the trail, visit

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