Houlton Riverfront Trail should be finished this fall

10 months ago

HOULTON, Maine — The Riverfront Trail in Houlton will be fully groomed and marked all the way around by October, according to Gary Hagen, who has been working on its completion for the past two years. 

Hagen told the Houlton Town Council on Monday night that he has the footbridge over Cook’s Brook completely done; the pathway that goes beneath the I-95 bridges will be done in another two or three days.

“That was the most tedious part of it, working on the interstate,” Hagen said. 

About two years ago, Hagen went to the town council with his proposal to nearly double the size of the existing trail along the Meduxnekeag River, starting in the downtown Riverfront Park. Currently, the trail begins at the park near the Gateway Crossing Bridge and continues along the westerly side of the river, almost to the interstate, before looping back.

With Hagen’s work, the trail is on both sides of the river, creating an almost 5-mile path for hikers. It goes under two I-95 bridges, across the river and then along Cook’s Brook and back along the river. 

Hagen still has to complete the footbridge over Jimmy Brook and some steep sections have to be done by hand, he said. Signage is almost ready to be ordered.

“People can walk all the way through by October,” he said. 

Town Councilor Edward Lake thanked Hagen for all his hard work.

“It looks like it’s going to be pretty awesome,” Lake said.

Hagen said there were areas he never appreciated before, like Cook’s Brook. It is really pretty, he said.   

Councilor Eileen McLaughlin asked about adjoining property owner concerns related to hikers cutting through their property. 

Hagen put a line in the brochure about treating the landowners right so they will allow the hikers to continue to use their land, he said. He also explained that much of the trail is forested and it would be unusual for a hiker to veer off the trail. 

Updated maps will be available next year, he said. 

Houlton Police Chief Tim Deluca told the council that upcoming activities, Midnight Madness on June 30 and the Houlton Agricultural Fair July 1 through July 4 at the Houlton Fairgrounds, may increase traffic in the area.

“We’re prepared to deal with traffic and parking. The more people who can get to these events the better,” he said. “Traffic might be heavier. We’re going to close parking on either side of Randall Avenue near the fairgrounds. Just a reminder, be patient with us.”