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Posts posted by smallengineguy

  1. Per the Maine Snowmobile Association's website:

    Off Trail Riding
    It seems every year new issues rise to the top, and for the past several years the growth of off-trail riding has been hovering near the top of the list. This fall the MSA organized a discussion between landowners, outfitters and lodges to see if some agreement could be reached on how to get a handle on it. The primary concerns are safety, followed closely by property damage, particularly tree plantations, and what seems to be a sense of entitlement on the part of some riders.
    Off-trail riding has been an ongoing problem in southern and central Maine, with riders veering off marked trails on agricultural lands. These problems have been relatively easy to solve through a combination of signage and enforcement. The more recent issues are the result of the significant growth in sales of mountain sleds. Those sleds are becoming a good piece of the snowmobile market, and many riders mistakenly believe that their use in Maine is the equivalent of off trail opportunities in the western states.
    By tradition, most of Maine's forestlands are open to public use for a wide range of activities, including snowmobiling, with one important caveat: as long as those uses don't disrupt or damage their operations or place a burden to the landowners. They are, after all, in business to manage those lands to make a profit for their owners and investors. The snowmobile trail system is based on that understanding, which is why it isn't unusual to see trails rerouted or occasionally closed during the course of a season to accommodate logging operations or other activities that may be taking place on the land.
    Landowners spend a lot of money every year investing in their property and those investments may or may not show up under the snow. For example, hundreds of acres are replanted every year, and it is not the responsibility of the landowners to expend the time or money needed to educate off-trail riders as to where that is taking place.
    Additional issues are safety and liability on roads that may or not be plowed, have bridges out, gates or other hazards. Again, it is not the responsibility of landowners to keep off-trail riders informed of what is happening on their property.
    One of the outcomes of the meeting last fall was a general agreement that everyone is reluctant to pursue legislation to regulate this activity, at least for the time being. It is hoped that better education and more awareness of the issues will be enough to keep the activity under control. In the meantime, here is what riders can do to help keep this land open for all riders:
    Stay off all plowed roads. This is illegal, and presents a serious safety hazard. Those roads represent a significant investment and are intended solely for transporting wood and equipment. These roads may be in use 24/7 and are no place for sleds, private vehicles and trailers.
    The same goes for log yards. They may be empty when you arrive, but they are never intended to be parking lots for pickup trucks and trailers, they are for off-loading wood headed to the marketplace.
    Snow covers everything and that includes newly planted seedings or any number of obstacles or hazards. If you're unsure, check locally or just don't go. Keep in mind that calling the landowner isn't an option. Their employees are there to keep their operations moving, not to provide sledding updates to wannabee off-trail riders. Check with locals, or better yet Hire a guide. This is the first suggestion when people call the MSA office about off-trail riding. Guides are generally well connected to the forest landowners, know local conditions and can certainly help provide a high quality off-trail experience. There are also several lodges and outfitters in northern Maine that specialize in off-trail excursions.
    Hopefully this season will show that the education efforts will help reduce problems off trail that could affect snowmobiling across the state.


    Pretty self explanatory! Obviously the sport has taken the State by storm, and no one knows what to do about it.


  2. On ‎1‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 8:25 PM, gunmaker said:

    It doesn't matter what the sled manufacturers advertise and push, it still comes down to respect. If you don't RESPECT the wants of others, land owners, this will continue to happen. Maybe when people like this are caught, they need to be charged with trespassing not just "off trail" riding. I don't know.

    Wish it was that easy...Obviously, you (like me) haven't been a 20 something with a 800+cc mountain sled and a ton of fun-looking terrain in a while. Respect is taught, and it it ain't taught, it ain't learned! I think the idea of a MANDATORY OHRV course, where the off trail rules are taught, will help more than any other idea out there right now.

  3. On ‎1‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 6:38 PM, WideOpenOrNothin said:

    I took SmallEngines comment to you as;

    the manufacturers bear responsibility for disregarding for rules of the sport they promote, they did so by. Instead of educational/proper promotion. They promoted mountain sleds like everywhere in America is the Mid West. 

    As stewarts of the sport they took advantage of a money maker instead of what’s good in the long term 

    That's exactly what I said. If you're not TAUGHT respect, only that the snowy landscape is your canvas like the advertisement, then that's what you get.

  4. 20 hours ago, gunmaker said:

    It doesn't matter what the sled manufacturers advertise and push, it still comes down to respect. If you don't RESPECT the wants of others, land owners, this will continue to happen. Maybe when people like this are caught, they need to be charged with trespassing not just "off trail" riding. I don't know.

    I'm pretty sure when you go to a dealer and buy a mountain sled, the dealer isn't going to have a class on proper riding and landowner respect. They're going to take the money and hand over the sled, SO actually it DOES matter what the manufacturers push. Posters on the dealer walls of sleds side hilling and high marking. That's what you're SUPPOSED to do with the sled, so let's do it. If you're a 20 something making your first sled purchase, all you care about is the fun, not the consequence.

  5. Agreed W.O.O.N. (Not sure you like W.O.O.N. but way easier than spelling it all!) Evolution did move the sport to this. The crappy part is that the sport WAY outpaced the places... Case in point:


    ITS85N between Greenville and Elephant Mountain has recently been closed down due to the disappointing decision by some riders in the Secret Pond logging operation to ride off the marked trails and ultimately causing damage to the log yard.

    The majority of Maine's snowmobile trails are on private land and we have no sense of humor for this level of abuse. Have respect for Maine's landowners and the volunteers who work hard to maintain trails for all to enjoy.


    This is in Maine..

    Unfortunately with the big push for big tracks, anywhere the sled can go is where they ride. How do we convince, with the hype, videos of off trail riding, and the trend we are in right now with it, "younger riders" not to wreck what many "older riders" have worked so hard for?

  6. I've been reading every one of these posts, and there are some very valid points. I've been riding all my life, (started at 5, 48 now), consider myself a sport rider and I see how the sport has outpriced many of my friends who used to go. I have 4 sleds, and register them all every year, and with the recent winters, that's pricey. We have threads here on SledNH saying register early, register in November, etc. Sorry, but no way. $244 for one or two snowstorms isn't happening. Am I one problem? Maybe, but I'm also a parent and have bills to pay. Priorities. I'm also a 17 year member of my club. The youngest member I'd say is around 30. Another Problem...

    There are many things that need to be fixed to attract new riders.

    I think clubs should set the speed limits! 45 in Pittsburg is stupid, but perfectly justified in Milton with its windy trails. Change in that area would be way good.

     I also think we need to address off trail riding WAY sooner than later. That kind of riding is being pushed by the manufacturers. If you went to the grass drags this year, you probably noticed the HUGE push on mountain sleds! Those were front row at every dealer, with the trail sleds kinda in the back somewhere. Unfortunately the dealers think NH is Montana or Wyoming with miles and miles of mountainous area or wide open field to sidehill or plow through. There are very few places like that here, and I think NONE below the White Mts, so if Maine has more, so be it. We can't be like Maine, or Montana, just like we can't be like Moab when it comes to certain off road activities. We're NH and we have certain geography we must take care of, OR promote certain areas to do that type of riding in. I get WideOpenOrNothins ideas and opinions, but unfortunately the dealers products have changed the way we snowmobile here in NH way faster than we as a state has adapted, and in the long run, more and more clubs are paying the price with pissed landowners and closed trails.