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Environment and Outdoors

$5 Million Trail Network Planned for Katahdin Region

A $5 million outdoor education facility and trail system near Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument could be open by fall, pending the approval of state permits.

The money for the Maine Waterside Trails project has been donated by millionaire philanthropist Gilbert Butler, founder of the New York-based Butler Conservation Fund.

“Mr. Butler, his interest is building stewards for the environment from a young age,” says Carl Carlson, a spokesman for the organization. “He thinks if you can get kids out and enjoying the outdoors they’re going to be the people who in the future will be advocating for environmental causes as they get older.”

Carlson says the new outdoors education center, with about eight miles of trails and two buildings, will be located on the East Branch of the Penobscot River off Route 11 on the foundation’s nearly 4,000 acres in the Katahdin region.

“It will be open to the general public, there will be a parking area where people can park their cars and unload their bikes or cross-country skis, whatever they brought with them, and enjoy these trails,” he says.