LINCOLN, Maine — Town leaders renewed an ATV club’s permit for trails along Half Township and Curtis Farm roads and formed a committee to help the club and residents opposed to trails find common ground.
The Town Council voted unanimously at its meeting Monday to reissue the permit to the Penobscot Off Road Riders club and to form the ATV-Snowsled Access Committee. Under the permit, the club would have access to the route from May 1 to Dec. 1 and an ATV access contract must be signed by the clubs.
Club Trailmaster Bob Johnson was satisfied with the council’s decision.
“There’s been no complaints on this trail,” Johnson said, “and this will allow us to stay connected to the statewide trail network.”
The trails connect to the Dwinal Pond 4 Seasons ATV Club’s trails, which connect to the statewide network, Johnson said. The Half Township and Curtis Farm trails have been permitted for at least five years, he said.
The clubs are among several in the Katahdin and Lincoln Lakes regions that hope to build local trails that can connect to the statewide network and generate enough all-terrain-vehicle riding to rival snowmobiling and create the multimillion-dollar income streams that sledding brings into northern Penobscot County annually.
But their efforts have been opposed by some residents who object to the ATV noise and to some ATV riders who litter and drive erratically, posing a safety threat. The residents also believe that ATVs simply don’t fit in with the residential character of their neighborhoods.
The council rejected in March an ordinance that members felt would have been too restrictive to ATV access and agreed to form the committee instead. Residents Mark Blomsma and Douglas Jipson Jr. were due to be appointed to the committee Monday night. Anyone interested in joining the committee can call the town office at 794-3372.
Among the club’s greatest needs, Johnson said, is to find a way to run a trail across railroad tracks that run through downtown and connect the trail to another one that starts at Why Not Stop convenience store on Route 6. The trail near Route 6 runs into Chester and hits other statewide trails.
Residents have staunchly opposed attempts to use Buckley and Penobscot avenues to connect to that trail running into Chester, forcing club members to search for an alternative. That search continues.