CARIBOU, Maine — Daniel Jarosz of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, went snowmobiling in Caribou with friends nearly 23 years ago. Since then, he has not only become hooked on the sport, but he is making it easier for riders to visit each season from other places.
Jarosz has turned his hobby into Aroostook’s first storage units primarily dedicated to snowmobiles and ATVs. With his growing business venture, Jarosz wants to help fellow snowmobile enthusiasts spend less time lugging their gear and more time riding through The County, a region of Maine that relies on snowmobile tourism to boost its winter season economy.
Two weeks ago, Jarosz opened Caribou Climate Storage, which has two climate-controlled buildings for storing snowmobiles, ATVs, boats and campers during off-season months.
Located on a hill above Caribou’s still developing riverfront and nearby trails, the main building has room for at least 100 machines, with five snowmobiles already stored there. A smaller second building contains 30 storage units.
Both buildings are insulated two-and-a-half inches on the outside and inside, with concrete in the middle, intended to keep snowmobiles cold during the summer and operating smoothly in the winter.
Jarosz’s motivation for the business comes from the experiences that he and his friends had lugging snowmobiles on long treks from Massachusetts and other New England states.
“This comes from many years of my friends hauling snowmobiles in a trailer from Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire,” said Jarosz, who runs a plumbing and heating company in Rehoboth. “Why pay extra for fuel when you can just store your sleds here for the winter?”
Jarosz also wants to connect more riders with the region he considers his second home.
In 1999, Jarosz made his first trek to Caribou with a close friend and his friend’s father. Though northern Maine was the coldest and wettest winter destination he ever experienced, he was amazed at the wide, well-groomed trails and open fields of snow.
Jarosz has ridden thousands of miles on Aroostook trails from Allagash to Oakfield every winter since that trip. Aside from the rides, he most enjoys catching up with snowmobile buddies from the area.
He loves Caribou so much that he is building a home in the city and hopes that he and his family can eventually relocate there.
“The people here are overwhelmingly nice and welcoming,” Jarosz said. “I walked into Tim Hortons today and caught up with people that I had met three or four years ago.”
Now that Caribou Climate Storage is up and running, Jarosz wants to plant even more personal roots in his new favorite city and help the local economy.
Jarosz plans to level out the hill overlooking Limestone Street next spring to create outdoor storage units for snowmobile riders to use in the winter. He has also purchased a former locomotive storage building near the Aroostook River.
Jarosz expects those projects to keep him busy for at least the next four years. He is still debating how to transform the locomotive building in a way that helps Caribou redevelop the riverfront area.
“I might turn it into storage but it could also be a great rooftop bar. There’s a beautiful view of the river from there,” Jarosz said.