The Pieces for the first ever Down East Sunrise Trail News

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Down East Sunrise Trail News

The newsletter of the Sunrise Trail Coalition

September 2007 ~

Annual Meeting
October 24, 2007, 10:00 am

Join us at the historic Cherryfield Academy on Route 193 in Cherryfield for a business meeting, potluck/barbecue. Please bring something to grill for yourself and something to share. We will supply the rest. We’ll be sharing pictures and news from the trail. All are welcome.

A Bouquet of Thanks in a Basket of Good News
Sally Jacobs, President

There truly is a basket of good news from the Sunrise Trail Coalition. Most important: The Down East Sunrise Trail (DEST) construction is closer to reality, with the goal of beginning construction late this fall or early next spring.

The Maine Department of Conservation (MDOC) will oversee construction and long-term management of the trail. The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) will retain ownership of the right-of-way and contribute to the maintenance and management. The rails from Washington Junction, in Hancock to Ayers Junction, in Pembroke will be removed and the rail bed will be rehabilitated with wash-outs repaired and culverts and beaver-deceivers installed. The surface will be graded, and bridges will receive decks and railings.

Charlie Corliss has been hired as the eastern Maine Trail Manager. He’s a good fit for the job as you will read in his article.

Plymouth Engineering Company has been hired to design, engineer and oversee the trail construction. They have been adding details to Charlie’s photo/GPS inventory and are developing a request for proposals (RFP) for the job of removing the rails and ties. This RFP will be circulated to salvagers nationwide in October. Rail salvage and state bond funds will be used for the rehabilitation of the rail corridor, keeping this valuable asset intact for the future.

People are already interested in developing trail-related businesses. Accordingly, we are planning a spring 2008 business conference on “How the trail can help your business and how your business can help the trail.”

The Sunrise Trail Coalition, which has served as the non-profit trail advocate organization for the DEST, will play a central role as an ongoing Management Advisory Council for the trail. We will work with Charlie Corliss, municipal, county and law enforcement officials to represent all aspects of trail management. We hope to represent all trail users and set a high standard for trail maintenance, safety and enforcement.

We have a strong, hard-working Board of Directors, a plan, a trail manager, agreements for financing trail management and construction and ongoing cooperative efforts between the MDOT and MDOC, a logo, and even the beginning of a trailhead in Machias!

Julie Isbill of the National Park Service Rivers & Trails Program has worked with us for three years to create our organizational structure and apply for grants to finance the repairs to the Machias boxcar—our first step toward a trailhead. We are sadly approaching the end of this wonderful arrangement, as Julie will be leaving to take on a new assignment. Thank you, Julie!

We never could have gotten this far without the extraordinary talent, time, material, skill and financial support from so many people. The Bouquet of Thanks goes to them. David Whitney of Whitney’s Tool Shed has provided equipment not only for the boxcar repairs but also for our great celebration on National Trails Day. Hannaford’s, Whitney, and McDonalds fed everybody. And how about our beautiful official logo unveiled on our banner at Trails Day? Thank you to Steve Killam at MDOT for his design.

The Sunrise Trail Coalition meets monthly in Cherryfield and welcomes new members, ideas and constructive management suggestions. To find out more and to contact us, please visit

Notes from the Field
Charlie Corliss, Trail Manager

In March, I was hired by the Maine Department of Conservation (MDOC), Bureau of Parks and Lands as a Recreational Trail Coordinator to manage the Sunrise Trail in addition to working with all the ATV and snowmobile clubs in Washington and Hancock counties. I have more than 18 years of experience with the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission also within MDOC, 5 years as trail master of the Narraguagus ATV Club and several years as vice president of the Narraguagus Snowmobile club. Additionally, I served as vice president of the ATV Maine Trail Committee working with more than 100 ATV clubs across the state.

Shortly after becoming trail coordinator I started my assessment of the 85-mile rail bed. We need to determine the current condition of the corridor and learn more about the surrounding environment. Being a native of Cherryfield, I have always known the beauty of the area and in my youth used to ride the train occasionally (a friend’s uncle was the engineer). What I did not realize was the remoteness of some areas.

The biggest issues I see are washouts caused by beavers, but the thing that strikes me most is the significant amount of wildlife I have seen including deer, bear, moose, and more hawks and eagles than I could count. I was also struck by the views, including Schoodic Mountain and Schoodic Bog, and views of numerous bogs, ponds, rivers and lakes. While it appears that the rails will not be removed until next spring, there is still much we can do now. I will be working with Plymouth Engineering to assist with the bid package for the removal of rails, and I will be working with the animal control officer to deal with the beaver problems. Until next time, Happy Trails.

How Trails Help
Make a Healthier Community
Carl Knoch, Rails to Trails Conservancy

The Down East Sunrise Tail can help the residents to become healthier and happier. Trails:

  • Create healthy recreation and transportation opportunities; they make it easier for people to engage in physical activity.

  • Connect people with places and physical activity can be built into a daily routine.

  • Provide a natural, scenic area that make people want to be outside and physically active.

  • Make connections so that children can get to their friends’ houses, especially where sidewalks don’t exist.

  • Offer cost-effective places to exercise and serve as a place where people can see and interact with each other.

A 2002 survey showed that 59% of people in Washington County are overweight or obese, 41% have no leisure time physical activity, and 34% have high blood pressure. When the Trail is finished, let's all get out and use it. It will make a difference in our lives.

Boxcar Trailhead Center Gaining!

Washington County Jail Crew Renovate Box Car

Thanks to incredible team work and volunteerism, including a crew from the Washington County Jail, the boxcar in Machias is being transformed into a trailhead center. So far the boxcar has been moved, cleaned, scraped and painted. Whitney’s Tool Shed donated scaffolding and coordination. DownEast Community Health Corps' Terri Woodruff and Jonesboro sign maker, Marilyn Dowling, created stencils of the boxcar figures and are well on their way to repainting them. Coplon Associates, landscape architects from Bar Harbor, donated time to draw conceptual plans for the depot/ boxcar site. The National Park Service Rails-to-Trails Conservancy provided funds for the materials. Thank you, team! The next phase of interior renovation—stairs, a ramp, a door and lighting—are in the works.

National Trails Day Was a Blast!

Celebrating Trails Day in Machias

June 2, 2007, in Machias was a day to remember, as the Sunrise Trail Coalition celebrated the immanent construction of the trail. After a few words of greeting in front of the depot and boxcar (special thanks to Senator Damon), the group paraded down Main Street, sporting the Coalition’s new banners, to a festive celebration hosted by Whitney’s Tool Shed. After a delicious BBQ and dancing to the Ukulele Band, a troop rode bikes to Whitneyville and back, under gorgeous sunny skies. Thank you to all who contributed and participated.

In the Works

The Sunrise Trail Coalition and partners are creatively thinking ahead:

  • The Washington County Council of Governments is taking the lead to study the routing options for continuing the trail from Ayer’s Junction to Calais. Contact Jeremy Gabrielson:

  • MaineDOT, MaineDOC, WCCOG, HCPC and UM-Machias GIS Center are working to create a map of the trail and its environs.

  • A committee of the Coalition has begun planning a Trail Business conference for the spring of 2008. The conference will be for area businesses and communities on how to benefit from the trail.

  • HCPC is leading a Geo-Tourism initiative, celebrating unique locations with small interpretive signs, geo-caches and brochures. Contact Jim Fisher:

Two More Grants

Since our last newsletter (January 2007), the Sunrise Trail Coalition received $2,000 from the Maine Community Foundation to study the feasibility of a trailhead/depot/transportation center in Ellsworth. The Coalition also received word of a $4,500 grant for boxcar renovation from the National Park Service and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Yeah!!
This newsletter is sponsored with generous support from Friend and Friend and Bar Harbor Bank and Trust

Sunrise Trail Coalition Directors

Sally Jacobs, President Bill Ceckler, Vice President

Eleody Libby, Treasurer Carol Cuddy

Bill Cherry David Whitney

Jacob van de Sande John Ashmore

Louise West Maggie Warren

Marla O’Byrne Michele Gagnon

Mike Murphy Polly Ceckler

Sandy Johnson Tory Minutolo

The Sunrise Trail Coalition is a publicly supported non-profit charitable 501(c)(3) organization. Dues are tax deductible. Learn more at
Mission: The purpose of the STC shall be to promote outdoor recreation, health and fitness, and economic development in Hancock and Washington Counties in the State of Maine through education and the development of an integrated on- and off-road four-season, shared-use trail system.

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Sunrise Trail Coalition Membership Application

Name: _________________________________________________________________

Address: _________________________________________________________________

E-mail _________________________ Phone _________________________________

Affiliation/Club (if applicable) _________________________________________________


Individual/family membership (Member-1 vote)

$ 25

Sustaining member


Non/Profit and Club membership (Club-1 vote)

$ 50

Business membership


Club associate (Members-1 vote. Specify Club)


Lifetime membership

Please mail this form with your check made out to “Sunrise Trail Coalition.” to:

Eleody A. Libby, Treasurer / Sunrise Trail Coalition / 43 South Lubec Road / Lubec, ME 04652

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