Opinion

A suggestion for ATV task force

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To the Editor;
I am pleased to learn that Governor Mills has appointed a task force to study ATV changes and trail use. I find it especially interesting that it is also at a time when decisions are being made about where electric bicycles may be used. Intentionally or unintentionally, there also seems to be a push to attribute improper or illegal use as the reason for the need.

Let me point out, as one whose property abuts a railroad bed converted to a snowmobile and ATV trail, there are only a very few riders who exhibit bad behavior, most are courteous and well behaved. That being said though, I believe there is a real problem that needs to be addressed — and it is being created by law-abiding and considerate ATV users using Maine’s trails as Maine’s legislators have deemed appropriate.

Aggressive treaded tires on ATVs and trail bikes are causing considerable erosion damage. Tire treads pulverize the surface and usage tracks create water channels. This is particularly troublesome where trails lie within areas protected by lakeshore zoning laws. From what I’ve seen, Maine’s trail surfaces and protected waters are taking a beating.

I am hopeful the task force will recognize and address the significant difference between the interface of rubber tires with the soil and a snowmobile’s interface with the soil. Ice and snow provide erosion protection to the soil. If it is the legislature’s desire to make Maine’s trails ATV, trail bike and battery powered bicycle trails, then the trails need to be maintained like other roads designed for powered vehicle traffic.

Ronald Snyder
Dexter

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