February 23, 2013
Whistle Stop Trail extension opens and celebrated on Saturday
JAY - About 60 snowmobilers, all-terrain vehicle riders and downtown business owners celebrated the ceremonial opening of two trail projects that connect with the Whistle Stop Trail.
The 14.5-mile Whistle Stop Trail, which begins in West Farmington, runs through Wilton and formerly ended near the Jay Elementary School, now continues on further for 2.5 more miles, to total 17 miles, into Jay village and onto Livemore Falls.
The state-owned Whistle Stop Trail was a former broad gauge Maine Central railroad converted into a multi-use, four-season rail trail, is open for walking, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, dog sledding, ATV riding, and snowmobiling.
In 2009, after Mary Howes and Tim DeMillo of Otis Ventures LLC property purchased the former Wasuau Mill and converted it into Otis Falls Mill development, plans for the trail extension began, said Jonathan LaBonte, executive director of the Androscoggin Land Trust to those attending the ribbon cutting.
The land trust formed the Chisholm Trails organization of Jay and with help from the National Park Service, local snowmobile and ATV clubs, work began on the 1.3-mile trail extension from French Falls Drive near school down to run along the river to Mill Street at the entrance Otis Falls Mill in Jay.
A trail easement across the mill property was granted by Howes and DeMillo that added another 1.2 miles to end Bridge Street in Livermore Falls. Existing trails connect from there.
"The new two-and-a-half miles of trail will provide access to businesses and shops in Jay village and Livermore Falls," LaBonte said.
DeMillo said there will "no longer be a struggle to go north. The new trail helps provide year-round access north and south. I'm happy to be a part of it, but couldn't have done it without all of you," he added of those attending.
Snowmobilers and ATV riders applaud the trail's ceremonial opening ceremony. At left is the Otis Falls Mill development building and the group is standing on the new trail. At right, houses front on Main Street/Rt. 4.
Mary Howes and Tim DeMillo prepare to cut the ceremonial ribbon to celebrate the opening of the trail extension into Jay and Livermore Falls.
Keeping the trails maintained takes a lot of hard work. The rain does substancial damage. We have members who donate their time to keep the trails safe for everyone. Our work parties are open for all, please help! We are in the process of trying to connect our trail system to Canton and Livermore. Everyone using the "Whistle Stop Trail" will notice all of the changes in Jay. The powerlines have been had tons of new dirt brought in filling in waterholes and ruts. The railroad bed has had all new ditches and the trees were cut on each side.
We recently discovered the rascals plugging up our culvert!
National Park Service to focus on Androscoggin
LIVERMORE FALLS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Through a technical assistance grant the towns of Livermore Falls and Jay will get help expanding a network of trails along the Androscoggin River.
As the mills fade into the history books the towns are looking for a new future and they feel the answer is along the river.
Members of the National Park Service will spend the next year working with local leaders and volunteers on connecting existing trails and expanding the network.
They are also working with the Androscoggin Land Trust and plan to follow the lead of officials in Lewiston-Auburn who have spent the last 20 years working to reshape a riverside mill community.
All of the work is part of the Androscoggin Greenway which stretches from Durham to Jay.
To learn more or to volunteer you can contact the Androscoggin Land Trust: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jay Town Office: 897-6785
Livemore Falls Town Office: 897-2016