Trails provide numerous benefits to the community and the environment, and give a space for people to engage with the outdoors. Safe and well maintained trails promote healthy lifestyles by increasing the physical activity of the public, mitigate climate change by encouraging clean means of travel and promote community building by creating a space for people to interact with each other. While trails provide overarching benefits to the community at large, each trail presents unique benefits, challenges and usage patterns, and every trail user has their own relationship with the trails that they use. The L/A Trails organization found a need to collect more data on the usage and opinions of the trails in the Lewsiton/ Auburn area and to find out more information about the various features and amenities that each trail provides to the community. In this report, we detail an investigation of four pillars of study that come together to provide a comprehensive look at the trails, the usage and the public opinions of the trails in the Lewiston Auburn area. Our first pillar of study details a methodology for collecting usage information from trails in Lewiston and Auburn, and provides proof-of-concept data from two trails in the area, Whitman Spring Road in Auburn, ME and the Riverside Greenway Trail in Lewiston, ME. Our second pillar of study gives survey feedback from trail users with graphs that display trends in public understanding and use of the trails. Our third pillar of study provides information about the various amenities that each trail offers and compares this data to the information listed online in order to assess the accuracy and availability of public information about the trails in the L/A area. Our fourth pillar of study expands upon this amenities data and provides a sample section of a possible public facing web map that would inform users about the location, the available amenities and the directions to all of the L/A trails. Each of these pillars come together to provide preliminary data about the physical trails in the area, the people who use the trails and the connection between the trails and the public. We encourage L/A Trails to continue to expand on the data gathered in this study to find new ways to improve the trails in response to usage and feedback patterns, and to make the information about the trails more accessibility to the public in order to increase community engagement with the trails.
Adams, Mary Margaret; Bodner, Alison; and Wolfson, Rafi, "Inventorying Amenities and Usage of Lewiston-Auburn Trails" (2019). Community Engaged Research Reports. 67.