State officials are warning users to be wary of washouts on the Down East Sunrise Trail after beavers making dams caused water buildups. Credit: Courtesy of Down East Sunrise Trail

Workers hope to finish repairing by Monday the last of three washouts on a popular trail that runs through Hancock and Washington counties. In all three cases, beaver dams and heavy rainfall are to blame.

A contractor is preparing to fix a severe washout on the Down East Sunrise Trail at mile 37 in the Washington County town of Harrington and will start work restoring a culvert there by Thursday, said Charles Corliss, a trail manager with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Equipment will likely move on site on Wednesday, with work starting that day or Thursday.

The three washouts since June 12 represent the worst damage done to the 87-mile public recreational trail in Corliss’ 12 years of managing it, he said. Corliss figures that repairs will cost $12,000 to $15,000.

The other washouts, at mile 45, immediately adjacent to a tributary about a quarter-mile south of Indian River Stream, and in Township 7 near Muckleberry Pond at mile 20.3, were repaired last Friday, Corliss said.

In all cases, young beaver making dams or lodges and unusually heavy rain – Corliss estimated as much as 5 inches in the last month or so – caused the washouts, he said.

Corliss encouraged trail users to take a detour around the Harrington washout that he created.

Open to bicycles, walking, horses, cross country skiing, ATVs, snowmobiles and the occasional dog sled, the trail — a former rail corridor — is the longest unpaved portion of the East Coast Greenway, which stretches 3,000 miles between Florida and Maine.

The beaver will be trapped, Corliss said.