June 21, 2018
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Lincoln stymied in search for ATV crossing onto Route 6

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

LINCOLN, Maine — A bit of detective work aimed at resolving a years-long dispute over all-terrain vehicle trails between riders and Buckley Avenue residents who dislike having ATVs in their neighborhood wasn’t quite enough to settle the disagreement, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said Friday.

Town Assessor Ruth Birtz’s discovery at the Penobscot County Registry of Deeds office last summer of 1918 survey maps of some of the town’s rail lines showed a former farmer’s crossing near Alyward Drive, which might have been a good relocation of the Buckley Avenue ATV trail that leads onto Route 6.

But the map failed to satisfy Maine Central Railroad officials, Goodwin said.

“The company has stated that all that is needed to approve the [new ATV] crossing is a deed referencing this farm crossing,” Goodwin said in a statement Friday. “Mrs. Birz was unable to find the deed reference during her search.”

Railroad company restrictions and a lack of landowner cooperation have left the town’s all-terrain-vehicle riding club with only one potential way over the tracks that can plug into convenience stores and restaurants off Route 6 — a connection that runs a trail over Buckley and Penobscot avenues.

But most neighbors there oppose it because of noise and some riders who litter and drive erratically, posing a safety threat. The residents believe ATVs simply don’t fit in with the residential character of their neighborhood.

Club leaders say ATV riders need access to Route 6 convenience stores provided by the Buckley Avenue crossing to refuel and get food. Town and club members feel that a trail expansion will help the sport become at least as lucrative as snowmobiling, which is a staple to the Lincoln Lakes region’s economy and a $350 million tourism industry statewide.

The trail networks are vital to the local ATV club’s efforts to expand trails and help downtown businesses profit from ATV traffic, town officials have said.

Birtz isn’t giving up yet, Goodwin said. She is working with the office of U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-East Millinocket, to help obtain a suitable crossing.

And her detective work is also continuing.

Birtz has consulted with a local surveyor and found some possible new resources to search for a deed showing the Alyward Drive crossing, Goodwin said. She has asked members of an ad hoc Town Council subcommittee assigned to help create and manage ATV and snowmobile trail expansions to help her find an appropriate deed.

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