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Fort Kent trails temporarily closed to ATV adventures

FORT KENT, Maine —  Although warm temperatures and sunny spring skies may appear to say yes to ATV adventures in Fort Kent, wet grounds and officials say no, for the time being. 

Fort Kent trails and access routes remain closed to ATVs, potentially until May 29. 

“The trails are not ready; even though we’ve had a very light winter and beautiful spring, the ground is still soft in many areas and still muddy,” Fort Kent Office of Planning and Economic Development administrative assistant Cindy Bouley said. 

Town officials have received multiple complaints about people riding along the posted trails, which include the Fort Kent maintained Heritage Trail and town roadway access routes that connect to the approximately 30 miles of trails maintained by the Valley ATV Riders club. 

FORT KENT, Maine — April, 2021 — Fort Kent trails remain closed to ATVs for the time being. (Courtesy of Town of Fort Kent)

The complaints have come from landowners who allow ATV access along some of the trails, as well as pedestrians who have been splattered with mud by passing ATVs. 

By riding on the posted trails, ATV operators not only risk annoying landowners and pedestrians, but destroying the trails. 

“It makes ruts and it spoils the trails,” Bouley said. 

Valley ATV Riders President Danny Nicolas said when people disrespect the trails being posted, it jeopardizes landowner trail access.

“Some people like to spin their tires and play in the mud holes — it causes erosion,” Nicolas said. “People ride through them with four-wheel-drive pickups, side by sides and regular four wheelers and we get blamed for it.”

If the nice weather holds out, Bouley said the trails could open up to ATVs before May 29. 

In the meantime, she asks that ATV enthusiasts respect the rules and maintain patience until the trails open. 

“I realize it’s beautiful out, but we’re just not there yet,” she said. 

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