Greater Portland NEMBA is helping with all kinds of efforts to improve the mountain bike scene in Greater Portland. Greg O’Connor photo.
GPNEMBA is working with land managers across Greater Portland to enhance mountain bike access, including trail system design, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment for trail maintenance and trail building. If you’re interested in working with GPNEMBA to enhance mountain bike access, or support our work, please reach out to us here.
The East Windham Conservation Area (EWCA) is a new 700-acre piece of protected, publicly accessible in Windham that is scheduled to open to the public in December 2023. The EWCA will be a major new destination for mountain biking, with 10 miles of new multi-use trails planned. These trails will connect to existing trails at Lowell Preserve, North Falmouth Community Forest, and Blackstrap Preserve, creating the largest wildlife habitat and trail access corridor in Greater Portland in the process. EWCA is an incredible – and incredibly large – addition to the landscape of open space in Greater Portland, and purchase of the property was made possible by the Land for Maine’s Future state program, the Town of Windham, a Land and Water Conservation Fund federal grant, and donations to The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust.
The EWCA is great mountain bike terrain, with several hillsides across the property sporting several hundred feet of elevation gain with the gradual fall lines that make for stellar singletrack. Having seen extensive logging, much of the property is relatively open, offering good sightlines, a big change in scenery from the tight forest trails we’re used to, and even a few vantage points where you can see the White Mountains and Mt. Washington/Agiocochook. Extensive granite slab underlies much of the hillsides, making for unique riding unlike anywhere else in Greater Portland. GPNEMBA helped fundraise to develop 10 miles of multi-use trails in the area with the help of the Maine Mountain Bike Trail Fund, and hired Sanctuary Trails to develop a variety of machine-built singletrack on the property, and are working with the trailbuilders to ensure high-quality singletrack gets built at this incredible property. The EWCA trails are still under construction, but they are expected to offer a variety of terrain and features, including flow trails, technical trails, and scenic overlooks. Two beginner and one intermediate trail are expected to be finished for the soft public opening December 2nd.
In addition to mountain biking, the EWCA will also be open to hiking, trail running, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The property includes 38 acres of wetlands and 1,500 feet of frontage on Little Duck Pond, making it a great place to enjoy the outdoors.
riverton trolley park bike park
Just 5 miles from downtown Portland, the city and the Portland Parks Conservancy have partnered to build a new bike park at Riverton Trolley Park. While we have a few jump trails scattered throughout the Greater Portland area, this will be the first dedicated bike park in the region (and heck, in Maine as a whole!) and will include multiple dirt jump & skills lines (from approachable small to big expert) with a variety of drops, jumps, and other skill-building features, a pump track, and a flow trail around the baseball diamond. This will be an incredible venue for everyone from day-one beginners to lifelong riders to build fundamental skills and get some airtime right in Portland!
Fundraising for the park came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund the Maine Mountain Bike Trail Fund, and others, and GPNEMBA has been working closely with the Portland Parks Conservancy, the City of Portland, and Maine Trail Builders on the project’s layout and schedule, with building now expected to commence in spring 2024. In addition to the bike park, the park will see several additional enhancements, including renovating the entrance and parking lot, making repairs to the Little League field, adding new walking trails, and planting an urban orchard.
Organizing volunteers to maintain and improve trail systems across Greater Portland
GPNEMBA has been organizing volunteers in Gorham for years to develop and maintain that town’s growing abundance of mountain bike singletrack, with a huge variety of stellar cross-country riding the result. As of fall 2023, GNEMBA has begun organizing volunteers to take on maintenance and improvements to Blackstrap Preserve & North Falmouth Community Forest in Falmouth, and anticipate committing over 200 volunteer hours to improve the trail systems before winter arrives.
If you’re interested in volunteering to help make Portland-area riding awesome, fill out our volunteer interest form here.
With assistance from a grant from the Maine Mountain Bike Trail Fund, GPNEMBA was able to secure a multi-month excavator rental, along with the time of talented Maine trail builders, to build out the new Hamblen cross-country network in Gorham, which includes a variety of fun, swooping machine-built descents down a beautiful hillside to the secluded bank of the Little River with huge berms, rollers, jumps, and drops keeping you smiling all the way down.
The same equipment rental grant helped GPNEMBA facilitate the years-long work of local volunteers in Gray to build out the Libby Hill trail system – namely the Libby Thrills trail, which features the largest jumps of any publicly-accessible trail system in Maine. Led by the Holmquist family and shaped by the talented Max Southam of Mt. Abrams Bike Park fame, Libby Thrills is bringing up a whole new generation of riders now able to progress their skills from day-one beginners to advanced airborne experts thanks to the variety of trails in the Greater Portland area GPNEMBA is privileged to support.