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A Little History

Rediscovering Maine’s Forgotten Trail 

  In the mid 1930’s after the great depression, Maine began seeking new ways to bring revenue into the state by way of tourism. 1936 was the first year “VACATIONLAND” appeared on license plates.

In 1937, the 88th Maine State Legislature passed an act to designate a certain road as the “Pine Tree Trail”. Legislation says it would be a route from Portland to Fort Kent. (Some maps, atlases & newspapers say Kittery to Fort Kent)

The Trail would be an inland route that would traverse Maine's towns, cities, lake regions, forests and farmlands.

With disruption of WW2 and new road planning there after, it would become “Maine’s Forgotten Trail," and then....
  ...one day in 2012, a fella came across what looked like an old rusty bent up piece of sheet metal with bullet holes in it. Brushing leaves, rocks & dirt off it and inspecting it further, he realized it was a steel embossed road sign. The sign read "Pine Tree Trail" and had an evergreen tree embossed in the center. It was in such rough shape that he nearly discarded his find but ultimately decided to hang on to it. He stored the sign for years.

During mud season (spring) of 2019, the man decided to look into the origin of the sign, the route, and the knowledge about it from others. He did so with his fiance and they found that there was a real lack of information readily available on it.
The man came up with an idea to go on a mission to bring back the recognition of the route. It would become known as “The Pine Tree Trail Project”
Along with his fiancé, they would invite the entire community to help re-establish the route by raising funds from business and individuals to re-sign the route again. With them not being a non-profit, the funds raised went directly to the D.O.T. sign manufacturer for the purchase of signage and hardware.


Pre-covid, Nate & Robbie met with former Secretary of State Matt Dunlap and he said, “it was still the law of the land," meaning the route was still active and just hadn’t been signed or put on the map for 70+ years. They also met with legislators and Director of Tourism Steve Lyons and they were all excited. And then....Covid came and nearly put a halt to things.

By reviving the Trail, it is giving hope to many people in communities along the route and in Maine, aka “The Pine Tree State”.

 

 A "Maine's Pine Tree Trail Community" group page on Facebook has been created to share updates of progress of the revival of the route and to share memories and happenings along its length.

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Nathan Nipula seen kneeling where he found the old original Pine Tree Trail sign in 2012.  The sign was what sparked the discovery and revival of Maine's forgotten 500-mile Trail ...

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Photo of new old stock 1937 Maine license plates. Notice the original masking on the one plate.

Photo: Road Rte.2/ Pine Tree Trail Molunkus Twp./ Macwahoc Plt. line

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