All-terrain vehicle enthusiasts from across the state are expected to put on some serious miles over Memorial Day weekend with the official opening of the 2023 Maine ATV season.
Riders who had hoped to hit the trails in mid-May had their hopes dashed by wet conditions and a torrential rainstorm that caused flooding and numerous other problems on much of the state’s extensive trail network. At the time, the state suggested trails may remain closed through the holiday weekend.
However, the situation has improved to the point where the Maine Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Bureau of Parks and Lands has given the go-ahead for the season to get rolling on the majority of trails.
Large landowners on whose property many of the trails are located have agreed to the opening. But the state stresses that there are no trail connections on some stretches, including Rockwood to Jackman and Jackman to The Forks, because of timber harvesting, washouts and damage to roads and trails.
Riders are asked to comply with trail closures out of respect to the landowners and trail riding clubs that are trying to fix problem areas.
Almost all of the state-managed trails will be open this weekend, with the exception of the Oakland to Embden, which is under construction. That route will only be open from Anson north.
The Bureau of Public Lands points out that some trails do not open until June and that riders should check with local ATV clubs to make sure routes are rideable. Some trails are not in prime condition but have been repaired enough to make them passable.
Riders are asked to stay on marked trails, which have green and white signs, and should remember that not all snowmobile trails are open to ATVs and larger utility task vehicles, which are commonly referred to as side-by-sides. Enthusiasts should respect “closed” signs, drive to the right at an appropriate speed and avoid tearing up the trail.
The state cautions operators to never drink and ride and to not forget to register their machines.