FARM TO TOWN TRAIL
CONNECTING ROBERTS FARM TO DOWNTOWN NORWAY
Ten years ago, the Western Foothills Land Trust (WFLT) began the process of purchasing a lot on Water Street in Norway to create a new trailhead, a significant step in connecting Roberts Farm Preserve with downtown Norway. This connecting trail, The Farm-to-Town Trail, would benefit the community by injecting recreational opportunities within one block of Main Street.
The intervening years have seen that concept nearly realized. In 2020, the lot on Water Street was purchased and a 47-acre parcel was acquired, expanding Roberts Farm Preserve toward the Water Street trailhead. In 2021, WFLT received a Recreational Trail Program grant to complete the final section of the trail, ending the year needing one more trail easement or corridor purchase on an abutting property.
The decade-old trail puzzle’s solution emerged this spring when an estate’s heirs offered to sell the parcel to the Trust. This past July, the Trust closed on that 6.5-acre property. In addition to contributions from individual donors, the Trust received a grant from The Conservation Fund through the Stifler Family Foundation and a significant gift from the Maine Beer Company, illustrating how this local project has regional and national resonance.
To complete the purchase, the Trust negotiated a mortgage with their hometown bank, Norway Savings Bank. The Trust intends to pay off the mortgage with the sale of 8/10 of an acre of the property, which contains a two-bedroom prefabricated home and two historic seasonal cabins.
This project has been one of the most complex and time-consuming undertaken by the Trust. Building on other recent entrepreneurial undertakings in town, this trail will strengthen the greater Norway community, its Main Street businesses, and the region’s shared future.
Construction on the final section of the trail and trailhead is expected to begin this October for completion this fall. Additionally, volunteers are opening a corridor for a parallel mountain-biking trail that will be constructed in 2023. People interested in supporting this effort can send a donation to F2T Trail, P.O. Box 107, Norway, ME 04268, or donate online at: https://www.wfltmaine.org/roberts-farm.