Topsham — More than 5 miles of new mountain biking trails near the Topsham transfer station off Townsend Way were unveiled Sunday morning.
Members of the Six Rivers New England Mountain Bike Association and Merrymeeting Wheelers Bicycle Club helped build the Topsham Ponds Mountain Biking Trails over the past year with support from Topsham’s transfer station and parks and recreation departments.
The trails wind through the roughly 180 acres the town owns near the transfer station off Foreside Road. There also are ponds on the property where the town holds annual fishing derbies. Parking and entry are to the left, just before the entrance to the transfer station.
Pam LeDuc, director of the Topsham Parks and Recreation Department, said bike enthusiasts met with the town a year ago to plan for a trails project. Local contractors Hunter Excavation and Cosmic Stone helped removed stumps.
The trails were built for anyone to use, said Transfer station director Ed Carone.
“I think it says a lot of the town and it says a lot for you people who have put this trail together because it is an amazing trail,” Carone said.
Ernie Phillips, a Six Rivers NEMBA board member said Topsham Parks and Recreation offered its first youth cross country bicycle program this fall. Led by Six Rivers, the program drew 22 kids who rode the trails by the transfer station.
“This trail system was something we felt we needed — a beginner and novice trail system — for a more family-friendly (trail) to start getting people into the sport at a younger age,” he said.
Phillips said the group will continue to improve the trails and groom them in the winter.
Bicyclist Kevin Levasseur of Brunswick said the number of bicycle trails has multiplied in the past decade, “and it’s nice to see someone backing them and making them better.”
He was out bicycling on the new trails with his 8-year-old daughter Sunday and called the trails a tourist attraction.
“I use it as a choice of where I go,” Levasseur said.
A 2017 Outdoor Industry Association study found that American cyclists spent $83 billion a year on bicycling trips. They spent another $14 billion on retail spending for bikes and gear, the study found. That generated $6 billion in local and state taxes, $7 billion in federal taxes and 848,000 jobs.