LINCOLN, Maine — Residents and local snowmobile club members are looking to U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud to help the club find a railroad track crossing for sledders that is crucial to the local trail network, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said Tuesday.
A Town Council vote on Monday night to allow both sides of Penobscot Valley Avenue from the railroad tracks near West Broadway to Buckley Avenue to be designated a snowmobile trail failed to draw a majority. The 5-2 vote had Councilors Curt Ring and Shaun Drinkwater favoring the idea, the rest opposing.
That leaves the Lincoln Snowhounds Snowmobile Club without direct access to Interconnected Trail System 82, a major 25-mile east-west trail corridor that links to the north-south-running ITS 83, near Seboeis Lake, and ITS 81, near Burlington.
Nor does the club have an immediately available backup plan, Goodwin said.
“That’s fine so long as we don’t have enough snow [for snowmobiling], but the snowmobilers from the area are going to need a connection to get them onto the trails,” Goodwin said Tuesday.
Councilors had allowed that section of Buckley and Penobscot Valley avenues to be used as a temporary trail for snowmobiles and ATVs last year, hoping that town and club officials could find a permanent solution.
The Penobscot Valley-Buckley connection allowed snowmobilers and ATVers access to the statewide trail network and the restaurants and convenience stores along West Broadway, but Buckley Avenue residents complained about the noise and what they felt was a safety hazard of having those vehicles on their street and so close to their homes.
Code Enforcement Supervisor Ruth Birtz thought she might have found a solution when she discovered 1918 survey maps last summer of some of the town’s rail lines that showed a former farmer’s crossing near Alyward Drive.
But Maine Central Railroad officials said that a deed, not map, would be required before they could grant a crossing. Now Goodwin said she hopes that residents and snowmobilers will call upon Michaud to broker a solution.
Michaud’s spokesman, Ed Gilman, said Michaud’s office has contacted railroad officials and is “hopeful a resolution to this issue can be found as soon as possible.”