MILLINOCKET – The Northern Timber Cruisers Club and the region’s largest landowner are in talks to see whether a trial ATV trail can be run through Millinocket and connected to trails in East Millinocket, officials said Monday.
Timber Cruisers club officials last met with Marcia McKeague, president of Katahdin Timberlands LLC, about 1 1/2 months ago and are probably trying to arrange agreements with landowners adjacent to Timberlands property, she said.
“We are basically trying to work out the details of one possible trail run between Millinocket and East Millinocket, but it would have to cross other landowners,” McKeague said Monday. “They really are just at the beginning of trying to get permission for what they want to do.”
David Moore, Timber Cruisers club president, did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Monday. His brother, James Moore, a former club president, referred comment on the talks to his brother.
McKeague said she is rather lukewarm to the idea of allowing all-terrain vehicles on portions of Timberlands property. She expressed concern for trail rutting, damage or destruction to tree-growth areas or fauna, traffic safety issues and littering that sometimes accompanies ATV usage.
“This would not mean that we open our lands, generally, because we would never have any intention of allowing them to go everywhere,” McKeague said. “This would be a trial thing.”
But Katahdin Timberlands would like to prevent rampant trespassing by ATV riders, who are not presently allowed on their land, and other problems. The company allows snowmobile riding and cross-country skiing on trails running through much of its property, she said.
Local businesses probably would like regulated ATV trails extended into Millinocket, said Shawn Campbell, service manager at Katahdin Power Sports of Medway, which services and sells snowmobiles, ATVs, boats, outboard motors, watercraft, trailers and other items.
“It would definitely help the area for everything,” Campbell said Monday. “Right from restaurants, right on down, it would help with the tourism. A lot of money goes through here in snowmobile riders.”
“It would be a lot like snowmobile season but you would have it an extra eight months out of the year,” said Brent Cole, owner of the Pamola Motor Lodge of Millinocket.
A lack of snow crippled the snowmobile season in the Katahdin region last year, hurting area businesses that depend on snowmobile riders, Cole and Campbell said.