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Southern Maine rail trail inducted into national group's hall of fame

The nation's largest rail trail advocacy organization has included Maine's Eastern Trail in its hall of fame.

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Eastern Trail Alliance
The Eastern Trail in southern Maine.

The hall of fame is a project of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which selects trails based on outstanding scenic value, use, amenities, historical significance, and community value.

Jon Kachmar, executive director of the Eastern Trail Alliance, says the recognition puts the trail between South Portland and Kittery on the map.

"It's already lifted the profile of the trail," Kachmar says. "We have been hearing from people not only in Maine, but also from people all over the country, congratulating us, asking when they can come, asking about details because they want to come visit."

A recent study finds that the trail provides more than $44 million in economic benefits to the state, along with 364 jobs. And Kachmar says the trail is growing, with 24 miles completed and an additional 16 miles under construction.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.