Maine town apologizes after criticizing anonymous hiker who fixed bridge along its trail

There’s a Maine town trying to identify the hiker who built a replacement bridge next to a collapsed one along a hiking trail on a popular 308-acre preserve. “When outside entities create trails and structures without notifying our department, that leads to confusion for hikers and others” using the Lowell Preserve, Windham town manager Barry Tibbetts posted on Facebook.

The post drew widespread criticism from Mainers who felt the town was targeting the hiker for wrongdoing, instead of thanking them for installing a safe crossing on a municipal trail that had become dangerous. The town’s post was edited the next day to apologize and “thank” the anonymous hiker for making the repairs.

Although its one-person parks and recreation department routinely receives calls about felled trees or animals along the path, Tibbetts said the broken bridge had not been reported to the town, which maintains the preserve with help from partners. The old bridge will be removed and the new one will be “inspected for functionality,” he said.

Tibbetts said that no one had offered information about the hiker yet, but they won’t face repercussions if identified. “If you want to find the person you might try interviewing people picking up litter off the sidewalks, giving lost strangers directions or shoveling the walkways of the elderly,” one commenter suggested.

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