Maine Park Owner Wants to Build 'Burma Bridge'

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February 4, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Star marks location of Bethel, Maine campground.

Star marks Bethel, Maine, where a campground owner proposes to build a 500-foot-long footbridge to a nearby island.

Bethel Pathway walkers in Bethel, Maine, could soon have a new bridge on which to cross over the Androscoggin River, according to the Bethel Citizen.

Jeff Parsons wants to build a 500-foot-long bridge over the river, from his Bethel Outdoor Adventures Campground to nearby Hastings Island, and make it accessible to the public.

Parsons has filed a Natural Resources Protection Act permit application with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for the two-part bridge, totaling 400 feet in length.

The campground owns the 37-acre island. Parsons said in the application he wants to make the island more easily accessible to campers.

“Additionally, we will make the bridge and the island available to the public as an offshoot of the Bethel Pathway, which is 100 yards away on the other side of the campground,” he said in the application. “We will develop a rough woods trail round the perimeter of the island.”

The trail would be approximately one mile long.

The bridge, known as a Burma Bridge, would be constructed of cable and supported by steel towers set on concrete footings.

The two-foot-wide walkway would have aluminum (or similar) treads.

Here is an example of a Burma Bridge available from Playdale Playgrounds. It is not meant to illustrate the type that is being proposed for Bethel, Maine, campground.

Here is an example of a Burma Bridge available from Playdale Playgrounds. This photo is used here to give an example of a Burma Bridge but it is not meant to define or describe the bridge that is proposed for the campground in Bethel, Maine.

“It is designed for foot traffic only, so four-wheeled vehicles, snowmobiles, or even a riding mower will not be able to cross,” Parsons wrote. “The intent once the construction is done is to allow the bridge and its infrastructure to blend into the surrounds as naturally as possible.”

The island vegetation is comprised mostly of bushes, with scattered mature trees, Parsons said.

The bridge would have two parts. The first span would stretch approximately 250 feet to a tower on a small island. The second part would reach 150 feet to the main part of Hastings Island.

Together with the approach spans, the structure would measure 500 feet.

The bridge, said Parsons, would provide safer passage, particularly for young campers, who must now ford a shallow but fast-flowing section of the Androscoggin.

DEP has put out a notice saying that anyone requesting a public hearing or wishing to make comment during the process should contact its office in Portland.

If the project receives DEP approval, it is expected to come before the Bethel Planning Board in the spring.

Parsons said he hopes to start work on the bridge in late summer.

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