ATV Riders Take Note: More Than 600 Miles of Maine Trails Have Just Been Shut Down
It's one of Maine's most-enjoyed pastimes. Arguably right up there with the rich history of hunting, fishing and loving every day (sorry for the Luke Bryan reference). Of course, we are talking about riding ATVs.
Maine has more than 6,000 miles of all-terrain-vehicle trails (and even more snowmobile trails) that are maintained by local property owners and ATV clubs alike.
As you can imagine, maintaining 6,000 miles of anything would be quite an undertaking, but when that 6,000 miles is all off-road, it's even more of a daunting task.
That task is even MORE daunting when you figure that the majority of these clubs rely on volunteers to execute the upkeep using funds raised by membership or, in some cases, grants from the State of Maine.
Trail masters and members of clubs from all around Maine are now saying that not only has this been the worst year they've ever seen for the deterioration of Maine ATV trails, but many say they don't know how they'll even be able to properly restore them for next year.
According to an article published by the Kennebec Journal, this summer's weather in Maine is to blame.
Citing several storms, many of which produced heavy and sudden downpours, and lots of localized flooding, the newspaper said that much of Maine's ATV trail systems are sitting in disrepair. This has led to more than 600 miles of trail around the state being shut down early, even before the first week of September.
Typically, as things begin to cool down and the leaves begin to change, the fall season is some of the best riding for ATV enthusiasts both from Maine and surrounding states. This year is sure to be much different than in the past.
Brian Bronson, supervisor of the state’s Off Road Recreational Vehicle Program, told the Kennebec Journal in part that the summer storms caused unprecedented erosion on many parts of the trail system.
Bronson told the Kennebec Journal that this year's trail conditions are the 'worst he's ever seen'.
As it is, Maine was already off to a late start for the ATV season as Maine's Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry had put out a notice back in May that Maine trails should remain closed until after the Memorial Day weekend due to all of the localized flooding the state had experienced in the spring.
So, what are the takeaways? I
f you're an avid ATV rider in Maine, consider joining or donating to a local ATV club. Or, if you're willing and able, reach out to see how you might be able to help by maintaining parts of the trail system.
And, as always, make sure you reach out to local landowners and ATV clubs to find out the status of area trails and what is open to ride BEFORE you head out.
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