April 19, 2019

Piscataquis, Penobscot counties join efforts to improve roads> Committee will advocate for better Moosehead Trail corridor

SANGERVILLE — Officials from several towns in Piscataquis and Penobscot counties are putting their efforts together to push for road improvements on the Moosehead Trail corridor.

At a recent meeting of the Central Maine Managers Association, a committee was formed to serve as an advocacy group for these road improvements. That committee also will define the route leading to the Moosehead Lake area, according to Sangerville Town Manager John Simko, who was appointed committee chairman.

“If you parallel what we’re trying to do to the economy of Piscataquis County, in particular the efforts of the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council which has been three to five years in the making, we’ve made big strides in the past year,” Simko said.

He said that those strides have been made with a great deal of help from area town managers and municipal leaders, “and I think why those strides were made was we found a common bond, we found a thing that we all needed, and that’s an improved economy in Piscataquis County.

“We all finally realized that a bigger, better pie helps everybody in getting a piece,” Simko said.

The town officials were told that from the 1930s to the 1950s, the route of the Moosehead Trail changed, alternately including Routes 1, 3 and 7 between Belfast and Newport and also jumping between Route 23 from Dexter to Sangerville and Route 7 from Dexter to Dover-Foxcroft, according to Simko.

Simko said current legislation defines the Moosehead Trail as beginning in Belfast and continuing north along Routes 1, 3 and 7 to Newport, continuing north on Route 7 through Corinna and Dexter, turning onto Route 23 to Sangerville and continuing to the Moosehead Lake region on Route 15.

Simko and Kathy Fuller, a planner with the Maine Department of Transportation, who attended the meeting, suggested that both routes from Dexter to Route 15 should be included in the trail. Town officials attending agreed that this region’s corridor should begin in Newport and not Belfast.

The town and county officials from Greenville, Newport, Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford, Exeter, Willimantic, Garland and Sangerville discussed the length of the corridor and appeared in favor of its continuance from Greenville to Jackman.

Discussion was held on existing efforts to improve or market the old railroad bed between Newport and Dover-Foxcroft. The group will likely work to assist the local trails group to secure the purchase of the abandoned railbed.

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