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Hiking trail now in the works
RUMFORD -- If all goes as planned, a three- to five-mile loop hiking trail will be available in time for the next fall foliage season.
The first successful step involved approval of the plan on Thursday from the Board of Selectmen, as presented by Jim Rinaldo of the River Valley Growth Council. He said the Town of Rumford is one of three or four landowners that they will need permission from for this to happen.
Rinaldo said the trail would begin on the existing snowmobile trail by the Rumford Polar Bears, located between the River Valley Crossing Plaza and the town highway garage. Where they can't use existing trails, they would cut a swath through the underbrush that is 4 feet wide by 7 feet tall (trimming branches), but go around trees rather than cut them down.
The idea for the project evolved from a brainstorming session he attended in Farmington with fellow RVGC member Bill Hine.
Both became part of an ecotourism committee and one of the ideas was a walking trail that would be of interest not only to locals but tourists as well.
From there, they went to the assessor's office and found who the landowners are. Rinaldo said he contacted a large landowner, who did not have a problem with the concept. He said the others will be contacted within the next week to 10 days.
Rinaldo said Bob Stickney has volunteered to use GPS maps to help guide the trail, and ribbons will be used to mark the trail. Landowners will then be shown the proposed trail before the work begins.
"We're hoping volunteers, and groups like the Boy Scouts, will help us do the work developing the trail," said Rinaldo.
"The trail will not be real steep. It should be fairly easy. We'll snake it so it's comfortable for most people," he said.
"This is a great opportunity. There's no cost involved except for the signage."
To that end, Rinaldo said they will be searching for grant monies to cover the cost of the signs.
The trail can be extended in the future. One idea could be to have it continue across the highway and have it go towards McDonald's and the boat landing, where he said people could stop for a picnic and use the bathroom facilities at the Polar Bears' clubhouse.
The possibilities enthuse Rinaldo, who said, "We're also looking at two or three other areas around town where we'd like to make trails."