FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Josiah Petrin
Broadreach Public Relations
Trail Champions, Campaign for the Maine Trail Center
Enters Public Phase of Fundraising
Conservation organizations, land trusts endorse facility dedicated to maintaining and protecting
the Appalachian Trail in Maine for all to safely enjoy
SKOWHEGAN, Maine (April 18, 2021) – The Maine Appalachian Trail Club (MATC) announces the public phase of fundraising for Trail Champions, the Campaign for the Maine Trail Center, a multi-use trail maintenance and training facility centrally located to Maine’s AT footpath in Skowhegan. To-date, Trail Champions has raised more than $743,000 toward the $1.3 million fundraising goal and has secured endorsements from 17 conservation-focused organizations, land trusts and institutions. The campaign must raise the remaining $633,000 by year-end 2021 in order to break ground in spring 2022.
Founded in 1935, the Maine Appalachian Trail Club (MATC) is a volunteer, nonprofit corporation created to assume responsibility for the management, maintenance and protection of the Appalachian Trail (AT) in Maine. Except for its limited role in Baxter State Park and excluding 14 miles south of Grafton Notch, the MATC is responsible for all Trail and Trail structure design, construction, and maintenance, campsite maintenance and projects; for monitoring activities in the AT corridor; and for public information and education regarding the Appalachian Trail in Maine. The MATC cares for more total miles of AT footpath than any other AT maintaining club; in total, the MATC is responsible for 267 miles of the AT footpath, over 60-miles of related side trails and 43 campsites, and monitors 34,000 acres of National Park Service lands.
“The Maine Trail Center will serve as the first permanent base of operations for MATC’s dedicated volunteer maintainers as well as the Maine Trail Crew program, which are jointly responsible for maintaining the AT in Maine,” said Lester Kenway, Chair of the Trail Champions Campaign and president of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club. “The facility will also host trail building and environmental education programming to train trail professionals and youth, who are the next generation of AT stewards.”
“In a survey of the Maine Land Trust Network, many of the state’s 90-plus land trusts expressed a need for trail training, including trail design, building, maintenance, restoration and chainsaw operation. There is no single site that offers training in these skills anywhere in Maine; the Trail Center will fill this void,” continued Kenway.
The Maine Trail Center has been designed to modern building and life safety codes, and includes planned passive solar and other green energy design features. Under current plans, the Center will feature a meeting space, kitchen, housing with overnight capacity of 32, showers, laundry, an office, tent areas, an outdoor work space and a parking lot. A maintenance building will provide storage and a workshop. The Center will be operated on a seasonal basis for the Maine Trail Crew, while being a flexible space for a wide range of organizational functions, meetings and trainings.
The Center will be located on 55 acres just minutes from downtown Skowhegan, which MATC has secured through an agreement with the Somerset Woods Trustees. This property is ideal given the trail maintenance and education purposes of the Center, as it is centrally located to the entirety of Maine’s AT section as well as Interstate 95, Bangor International Airport, Waterville transportation stations, and Skowhegan’s business district, which will provide necessary services and amenities for volunteers and seasonal crew members who are often recruited from across the U.S. and around the world and do not have transportation.
The Center will also benefit Maine residents and visitors. The AT, in Maine, which charges no fees, is the largest network of hiking trails in the state. Hikers spend over 92,000 days on the trail each year. Maine residents and families, college and youth groups, and long distance backpackers from around the nation and the world enjoy this resource. MATC provides opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to camp, hike and participate in the stewardship of public lands.
To-date, the following organizations have endorsed the Maine Trail Center: Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Maine Conservation Corps, Appalachian Mountain Club, Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, The Student Conservation Association, The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, Forest Society of Maine, Unity College, The International Appalachian Trail (IAT/SIA Council), The Town of Skowhegan, Friends of Baxter State Park, Somerset Woods Trustees, White Mountain Trail Collective, High Peaks Alliance, and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
For more information about the Maine Trail Center and opportunities to support the campaign, please visit www.trailchampions.matc.org.
About The Maine Appalachian Trail Club
The Maine Appalachian Trail Club (MATC) is a volunteer, nonprofit corporation that was organized on June 18, 1935, to assume responsibility for the management, maintenance and protection of the Appalachian Trail (AT) in Maine. MATC is comprised of passionate outdoorspeople committed to protecting and perpetuating the AT for all to enjoy. Except for its limited role in Baxter State Park and excluding 14 miles south of Grafton Notch, the MATC is responsible for all Trail and Trail structure design, construction, and maintenance, campsite maintenance and projects, for monitoring activities in the AT corridor, and for basic public information and education regarding the Trail in Maine. While the MATC and the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) both work to protect and maintain the AT, the two organizations have differing missions and are unaffiliated. FMI: www.matc.org.
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