REM Award Honorees (2004) — Trailside Landowners (Kennebec Messalonskee Trails)

Kennebec Messalonskee Trails’ mission is to promote, create, and help maintain recreation and fitness trails along the waterways connecting the communities of Waterville, Winslow, Benton, Fairfield, and Oakland. These trails are possible because people are generous with their time, and in some important instances, with their property. It is this generosity that we are honoring. Our honorees include:

Louise Bowker lives at the end of Riverview Street in Waterville, where she owns ancestral land down to Messalonskee Stream. Our proposed trail crosses her land between the back of the Alfond Center and Edgemont Street. She signed an easement to do just that, and in return KMT has planted an arbor vitae hedge to shield her home from what will become a public view.

Chris Whipple and Melody Guptil (no photo available) live in the house with blue trim above Crummet Street. Their property lies next to the old rail bed that KMT is developing into a trail leading south into Winslow. They have given us written permission to cross their land in order to access the old rail bed. Not only that, but Chris has also offered to help with maintenance of the trail once built. This summer, he’s been busy mowing.

Len Poulin owns a small trailer park that abuts the trail in Benton. Without a written agreement, he helped us bulldoze a road down to the rail bed so that we could have access for construction vehicles. Len was also there working with Ken Dudley, Benton Roads Commissioner, who is overseeing the trail development.

Gladys Booker is 91. She owns a sizable farm on the Benton/Winslow town line, which she and her (now deceased) husband used to work. She said yes as soon as we asked for permission for construction access to the southern end of the trail. “Just follow the hedge down to the woods,” she said, “and don’t get stuck in the wet spot.” (Note: Gladys Booker passed away in October 2008.)

Without the generosity of these people, it would not be possible to plan, build and have trails along our riversides. I hope you will thank these people as you use the trails that they helped make possible.

For more information about Kennebec Messalonskee Trails, please visit its website.

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