Penobscot ATV riders propose alternative trail

Posted Sept. 29, 2008, at 11:42 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6 a.m.

EXETER, Maine — A local all-terrain vehicle club initially had proposed a trail on one side of town, but when a public hearing was held last week on the matter, the proposed trail had changed.

The Penobscot County Country Riders All-Terrain Vehicle Club had previously proposed using the Eaton, Tibbetts and Chamberlain House Meeting Roads, as well as some discontinued roads and some private property, to connect to the Corinna Trail system.

Last week, however, residents learned the club’s focus had shifted to the Holt’s Mills, Downing and Peabody Roads on the other side of town, according to Town Manager Peter Wintle.

Wintle said he had mailed more than 50 letters to land-owners along the roads first proposed only to learn last week of the alternative trail.

Despite the change, Wintle said the public hearing gave the approximately 40 residents who attended a chance to air their concerns or support for an all-terrain vehicle trail. Among the concerns, residents wanted to know what safeguards would be in place to prevent destruction of property, he said.

“I thought it was a good meeting, and people, I think, were pleased that they had a chance to express their opinions,” Wintle said Monday.

The club now wants to have the trail come across Fernald Bridge and continue over the discontinued Fernald, Atkins and Champeon Roads, as well as the public roads and private land, which would take them to the Exeter Village store, Wintle said. From there, the club is contemplating some kind of a loop that would bring them back onto the mail trail, he said.

Wintle said representatives of the club said signs would be posted regarding the trail and that the club would police itself.

After the hearing, selectmen requested that the club present a revised written proposal and to submit letters of permission from the private property owners whose land is being considered, according to Wintle.

“I don’t [know] whether we’d go back out to public hearing or what, but we’d probably err on the safe side and probably would,” Wintle said. Selectmen have the authority to make the final decision.

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