Officials hear request to close front snowmobile trail into Chesuncook Village

Posted Dec. 28, 2012, at 2:56 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Piscataquis County commissioners have taken a wait-and-see approach before responding to a couple of complaints received from two residents.

The commissioners voted to table a request made Dec. 18 by a Monson man to close the snowmobile trail leading on Lake Road that runs into Chesuncook Village. Larry LeRoy complained that the trail is attracting an increased amount of traffic.

LeRoy and several of his family members want to see the front trail closed to restore “peace and quiet” at their camps. LeRoy believes the back trail would provide access to the village without disturbing those who live near the front trail.

The commissioners also received a dissenting point of view about the proposed closure. Chesuncook Snowmobile Club President David Surprenant presented the commissioners with a petition with more than 500 signatures requesting to leave the trail intact. The front trail runs along a portion of Lake Road that is jointly owned by the state and county.

The petition included 156 signers from out of state, 22 village residents, six who own camps near the front trail, and 36 Piscataquis County residents. The online petition also included comments from the signers.

LeRoy indicated a majority of signers didn’t completely understand his proposal. He reviewed the online comments and reported that 57 percent believed shutting down the Lake Road trail would leave the village without an access point, 24 percent indicated it would force the trail onto the lake, and 7 percent were totally against relocating the trail.

The commissioners indicated that many of the signers’ concerns weren’t valid because there was no support on the board to bar snowmobile traffic into the village or to move the trail onto the lake.

“Obviously a lot of people signed this, but the way I read the blog, most of them are concerned about matters not even concerned with the proposal. As commissioners, we are not interested in either one of those,” said Commissioner Eric Ward.

The commissioners unanimously voted to table the matter. They plan on discussing the matter in the spring in order to have the issue resolved by next winter.

The commissioners also received a complaint for the second time in two years about a Shirley man’s concern about winter road maintenance. Tim Gora’s letter didn’t specifically request county action, but he wanted the commissioners to know about what Gora described as “the town’s reluctance to properly perform winter maintenance on the Blanchard Road.”

Gora is the only full-time resident on Blanchard Road. Shirley officials have done some summer maintenance on the road, but the town plows only a portion of the entrance and exit.

The commissioners will recommend that Gora continue to discuss the matter with the town’s board of selectmen. The commissioners believe the matter should be settled by placing an article on the town meeting warrant to decide whether the entire road should be plowed.

In other action, the commissioners unanimously approved $4,000,135 county and $1,483,000 Unorganized Territory budgets for 2013. The county budget increased by $70,000, which represents a 1.79 percent hike. The UT budget is almost $11,000 less than this year’s — a seven-tenths of a 1 percent decrease.

The commissioners will meet next at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, in the Peak House county commissioner’s office.

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