LINCOLN, Maine — Snowmobiles were riding Buckley and Penobscot Valley avenues on Tuesday after town leaders opted to reopen a temporary trail to allow snowsleds access to West Broadway and a major statewide snowmobile trail.
With Councilors Michael and Marscella Ireland opposing, the Town Council voted 5-2 to reopen the temporary connection to U.S. Route 2 and Interconnected Trail System 82, a major 25-mile east-west snowmobile trail corridor that links to the north-south-running ITS 83, near Seboeis Lake, and ITS 81, near Burlington.
Residents of Buckley and Penobscot Valley avenues objected to their neighborhood being opened again to snowmobile traffic. They dislike the noise and safety hazard they believe are created by the snowmobile trail running so close to their homes and along their streets.
It was a move no councilors were pleased to make, council Chairman Steve Clay said.
“It is too bad that we have to, but we have to keep those snowsleds coming in and out of town,” Clay said Tuesday. “I think they [local snowmobile club leaders] will find a way around it and they are continuing to work to find a way around it and to keep those snowsleds out of a residential area.”
Local snowmobile club leaders have complained that without the connection, snowmobilers riding through the Lincoln Lakes region have no easy access to gasoline and food available at Why Not Stop? and other convenience stores along Route 2.
Under the council’s latest vote, the trail will close at the end of the 2011-12 snowmobile season, Clay said. A council attempt to temporarily reopen the trail died during last month’s meeting when only two councilors favored it.
Town leaders had hoped that a deal with Pan Am Railways would allow access across railroad tracks that run parallel to Route 2 through much of downtown, but railway officials recently advised that they had no plans to accept the liability of such a crossing, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said Tuesday.
That leaves snowmobile club members hopeful of making a deal with a landowner in the area allowing a crossing that would connect to the ITS. Negotiations have been attempted for several years.