A section of the Vassalboro Town Forest Trail that runs along the abandoned rail bed of the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington line. The town has reached an agreement with Kennebec Water District to extend the trail onto land owned by the utility district. Courtesy of John Melrose

Vassalboro’s town forest trail is getting a 1.1 mile extension after town leaders and the Kennebec Water District reached an agreement earlier this month.

The town’s Trail Committee will take the lead on the project, which brings the trail through a property owned by Kennebec Water District to an area overlooking Red Brook. The new trail section is one of several projects being done to commemorate the town’s sestercentennial, the 250th anniversary of incorporation.

“Where we’re extending to on Red Brook adds a scenic aspect that I think will attract more users on the overall trail network,” John Melrose, Vassalboro Select Board and Trails Committee Chair, said. “It’s really a simple permit to be able to build a trail on their property, and it was educating ourselves more than anything on the best way to do it.”

Melrose saw a similar project done in Readfield through a collaboration between the Greater Augusta Utilities District and the town. Vassalboro and Kennebec Water District used a copy of the agreement as a template. The land is currently a forest and adjacent to the water treatment plant in Vassalboro and does not have a specific use.

Kennebec Water District General Manager Roger Crouse said the town discussed buying the land, but the board of trustees voted to give the town a use permit.

“It’s land that we don’t use and it’s not in the watershed so there’s no water quality impact, so if the town can make some use of it with limited impact out there, we’re happy to let them use it,” Crouse said. “It’s good for the utilization of the parcel.”

The Vassalboro municipal website shows eight trails in the town including the town forest trails, which are in East Vassalboro just north of the town’s recreational fields. The town and district reached the agreement April 15. The current trail is roughly a mile long and intersects with ITS 85 snowmobile route, part of the state’s Interconnected Trail System.

The new “Red Brook Trail” will be developed over the next year starting June 1. Town government approved funds for a sign to be made for the trail head near Bog Road.

“Doing a mile is significant,” Melrose said. “It should be ready for use in the fall.”

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