Help us make this family-friendly walking trail a reality
With your support, Frenchman Bay Conservancy and our partners will start rebuilding the Ellsworth Riverwalk this May. The Riverwalk will begin behind the Ellsworth Public Library and travel up along the Union River to an ADA-accessible overlook. Here people will be able to experience the beauty and wildlife of the river along a tree-lined path, only a few short minutes from Main Street.
The Riverwalk will provide many proven benefits to the downtown. The trail will be used for recreation and transportation for residents, and it will strengthen our tourism based economy by inviting people to eat and shop on Main Street. The Riverwalk will also build community and strengthen Ellsworth’s revitalization efforts by adding to other local outdoor recreation opportunities. This will not only make Ellsworth a must-visit place but a repeat destination for visitors to Acadia, Schoodic and Downeast Maine.
With your support, a walkable riverfront begins on River Street in downtown Ellsworth.
The Riverwalk will provide an accessible outdoor experience for Ellsworth residents and visitors of all ages and abilities.
Visitors can enjoy watching wildlife from the ADA-accessible overlook, including seals chasing fish upriver and eagles, gulls, and sea ducks flying close by. The Union River supports many animals including fish like eel, alewife, and even the endangered Atlantic Salmon. These species return each year by the millions, bringing food and energy that are vital for the food chain.
Protecting the Union River’s shoreline also means protecting the health of the river’s ecosystem. The Ellsworth trail’s environmental benefits will extend throughout the region. The health of the Union River watershed is important to nearby Frenchman Bay.
The Riverwalk will connect Ellsworth residents and visitors to the history of the region.
The Union River flows out of the forested hills in northern Hancock County, south to where it empties into the Union River Bay. Ellsworth is at the lower end of this remarkable river, on a protected harbor where the river meets the sea. Here, there is a rich history of connection between the Union River and the people that lived along its shores. This land was first inhabited by the Wabanaki people thousands of years ago. The Union River watershed is the native homeland of the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes.
French colonizers reached the region in the early 1600s, beginning a chapter of European history in the region. By the 19th century, the Union River waterfront was a center of commercial activity for European settlers. The Riverwalk follows a path that contained buildings on the land, and on a pier over the water. Large boats were loaded with raw materials from Ellsworth, to be shipped as far away as the Caribbean. We can still see the remains of old foundations along this path and the wooden posts from the piers that supported Ellsworth’s working waterfront.
After years of use, the Union River was all but forgotten as a cultural resource for the community — but together, we can change that. We hope that the Riverwalk is the start of a new chapter for the residents of Ellsworth and the Union River. FBC is grateful for the opportunity to help provide access to this historic river.
This project is made possible by the trail easement donations from three landowners, including City of Ellsworth, Hancock County, and Brookfield Renewable Partners. Local financial partners include Heart of Ellsworth, Ellsworth Garden Club, and Brookfield Renewable Partners. The PathMakers LLC will construct the new trail.