Lincoln residents oppose ATV trail proposal

Posted April 13, 2010, at 10:51 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:03 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — The trees and quiet calm of Buckley Avenue are as much a part of Thomas White’s neighborhood now as they were when he bought a home there 30 years ago.

That’s why White doesn’t want the Penobscot Off-Road Riders ATV Club forging a trail on his road.

The proposed trail “will be only 10 to 15 yards from my kitchen door, and with my windows open in the summer, the noise level will be similar to that of a lawn mower running inside this room, at odd intervals and perhaps dozens or hundreds of times per day,” he told the Town Council on Monday.

“If we’d wanted to live a few steps away from a busy street or a noisy, smelly, muddy eyesore of a racetrack, I would not be living where I am,” White added.

Club members want to use Buckley and Penobscot avenues to connect an ATV trail that ends at Route 155 to another trail that starts at Why Not Stop convenience store on Route 6. That trail runs into Chester and hits other statewide trails, club president Henry Carey said Tuesday.

This will solve a problem that has dogged the club for four years: how to cross railroad tracks safely at Penobscot Avenue and connect to a statewide trail network while giving visiting statewide riders access to Route 6 lodgings, gasoline stations and restaurants, Carey said.

“Right now anybody riding the trails really can only access gas stations in Winn, Lee or Mattawamkeag,” Carey said. “If they are coming up from the Greenfield trails, they are carrying gas or they’re walking.”

Buckley Avenue is a U-shaped gravel road about a mile long that connects to Penobscot Avenue near the tracks and northwest of Penobscot Valley Hospital.

White and a dozen other Buckley Avenue residents sought council disapproval of the trail. They said the trail would pose a safety hazard; lead to property damage; add noise and pollution to a quiet neighborhood; kick up heavy dust; and otherwise degrade their quality of life.

Club members wanted to use Penobscot and bypass Buckley but town officials objected, citing safety concerns, Carey said.

Councilors had no role in the matter. The law allows using Buckley Avenue for a trail, as trailheads between which the Buckley portion would go are about 500 yards apart, they said. They advised Carey to do everything possible to help the residents.

The club could erect fencing or other sound barriers or set daylight ride limits on the trail, Carey said.

“I don’t want this to be a black eye for the club,” he said. “We will approach this proposed route really cautiously and meet with residents out there to see how we can make everybody happy, as much as possible.”

The club’s purpose is to establish an ATV trail system while respecting landowners’ property, maintaining the environment and encouraging the safe use of ATVs, according to the club Web site, http://www.lincolnmaine.org/Community%20BB/ATV/Penobscot%20Offroad%20Riders.htm.

Most club trail riding starts May 15, Carey said.

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