Two local organization are hoping to create an In-Town Nature Walk to highlight birding spots, hidden amphibian pools, urban gardens and other attractions.

The In-Town Nature Walk is a collaborative effort by the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition and Habitat Belfast. Cloe Chunn, who spoke on behalf of both organizations, said the nature walk will be comprised of 12 segments that form a five mile loop that starts and ends at “The Muck” on Lincolnville Avenue.

Chunn said residents and visitors would be able to access a map that would highlight the route for the nature walk. To further assist with navigation, Chunn said the organizations could mark the trail in some manner — either with blue paint “blazes” on trees or with some other marking.

In addition, Chunn said at a future date the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition and Habitat Belfast would like to install interpretive displays at areas like “The Muck” to highlight the birds and amphibians at that location.

For those who do not want to walk the entire five-mile loop, Chunn said the trail can be completed in segments as well.

The nature walk, as outlined, would travel along the following route:

“The Muck” to Captain Albert Stevens School; CASS to Congress Street; Congress Street to Belfast City Park; Belfast City Park to Race Street and Allyn Street via public range-ways; Allyn Street range-way to the Belfast Boathouse; the Boathouse, via the Harbor Walk, to the public landing; the public landing to the Armistice Footbridge; the footbridge to Wales Park; Wales Park to Grove Cemetery; and finally Grove Cemetery, via Alto Street, to “The Muck.”

At the conclusion of her presentation, Chunn said she was not asking for any money from the city instead, she asked for council support for the project.

City Manager Joseph Slocum commented that based on the initial design of the walk, the route would utilize public property and that he had never heard of such a project before.

“It's a very interesting idea,” he said.

Councilor Mary Mortier pointed out that she thought the project was similar to the plaques the city installed around the downtown area to highlight historic landmarks. Councilor Eric Sanders said he also supported the project and felt it would encourage people to explore the city.

During further discussion, Councilor Nancy Hamilton, who praised the project for encouraging people to get out and explore the city, expressed concern that portions of the draft plan for the nature walk indicated permission would be needed from private property owners to cross their land in some locations.

She then asked that the nature walk be restricted to public property. That prompted a comment from City Planner Wayne Marshall who pointed out that the route he drafted for the project would not cross any private land.

Hamilton and Councilor Mike Hurley agreed that the proposal should go to the city's attorney for review to address any potential legal issues.

Hurley also stated he did not believe residents should be concerned about large groups of people walking through their neighborhoods.

“I think it's pretty safe in the neighborhoods for those poor people out there waiting for the thundering herds to show up,” he said.

Councilor Roger Lee then motioned to have the council support the project before Mortier asked for an amendment that would state the council supports the nature walk staying on public land. Lee amended the motion to reflect that request, which was approved with Hamilton giving the only dissenting vote.