MILLINOCKET, Maine — A Katahdin Area Rotary Club donation of about $5,252 will help the town purchase a new ATV that police will ride on the Katahdin-area multiuse trail starting next month, officials said Friday.
The Town Council voted unanimously on Thursday to accept the donation and authorize the purchase of a 2012 Polaris Ranger 800 XP for $10,505. A Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife grant will fund half the purchase.
Police Chief Donald Bolduc said he expects to get the ATV in a few days. He hopes to outfit the ATV with police lights and decals so that officers can use the all-terrain vehicle with their next series of grant-funded overtime patrols on the trail next month.
Bolduc called the club’s donation “absolutely terrific, extremely generous.”
“As a group they have gone above and beyond here for the town of Millinocket,” Councilor Michael Madore said. “I appreciate them being here, I appreciate their service to the community, and more importantly, I appreciate their money. They are truly a great organization and an asset to the community.”
Club President Mike Lamson said members of the charity organization picked the ATV as a cause to support because they are just finishing several years of work on Jerry Pond.
Canopied picnic tables, grills, bathrooms, playground space and equipment, a new dock and road are among the features added to Jerry Pond. Lamson estimated that donation to be worth tens of thousands of dollars.
The ATV donation is as much a compliment to the volunteer trail organizers and builders as an acknowledgement of the trail’s value to the region, Lamson said.
Opened last October as the culmination of a multiyear volunteer effort organized by Town Councilor John Raymond, Paul Sannicandro and Brian Wiley, the trail is viewed by town leaders as a cornerstone to the Katahdin region’s tourism economy and a crucial element to the region’s economic revival.
Since the trail’s reopening on May 1, Northern Timber Cruisers club volunteers have patrolled the trail, keeping it free of trash and otherwise well-maintained. A club member, Raymond is the town’s trail coordinator.
“They worked really, really hard getting that ATV trail put in there,” Lamson said Friday. “Our idea was let’s just do this thing first class and let them [police] get what they need.”
Business people had complained for decades that the region lacked networked ATV trails, which they felt would draw traffic like the region’s internationally recognized snowmobile trails.
Bolduc secured grants to fund extra-duty police ATV trail patrols and training. His officers have been using their own ATVs on trail patrols. Another police department donated an ATV but officers found it inadequate.
The new ATV’s having side-by-side seats will help police transport arrestees and injured ATVers, Bolduc said.
The trail starts near the snowmobile club on Katahdin Forest Management land on Millinocket Lake Road and runs to a multiuse recreational bridge near Route 11 west of town. It goes into the South Twin trail area and Seboeis, where it connects with a statewide ATV trail network.
The spur, which runs from Poplar Street near the hospital to the Hannaford supermarket on Central Street, is viewed as crucial to getting ATV riders to town merchants.
The rotary club took out a loan of as much as $7,400 to donate to the ATV purchase. Club members will donate proceeds from their spring auction to cover the loan, Lamson said.
Founded in 1995, the rotary club has 16 members, represents a dozen businesses and meets at noon Wednesdays at Millinocket Regional Hospital’s multipurpose room. Anyone interested in joining the club can attend a meeting or contact Lamson at 723-4000.