As part of a three-way deal between the city, Belfast Water District and Nordic Aquafarms, the city plans to buy a 250-foot-wide strip of land running along Little River.

This buffer zone, extending inland from the water to the edge of the proposed land-based salmon farm, is intended to preserve Little River Trail, a hiking path that follows its namesake river and man-made reservoirs from Route 1 to Lincolnville Avenue.

Opponents of the salmon farm have said the buffer isn't enough to separate the new business — on track to be the second-largest land-based aquaculture facility in the world — from the idyllic walking trail. City officials have argued that it is, or should be.

On June 29, this reporter took a cell phone and a tape measure and walked the southernmost segment, between Route 1 and Perkins Road, in an unscientific attempt to get a handle on it.

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