Blog :: 01-2016

Snowmobile News from Maine DIF&W

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             January 19, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine  - Snowmobilers will have the opportunity to enjoy the trails in neighboring states for free during a special weekend shared by Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. This annual three-day event will take place January 29 - 31, 2016 and allows all legally registered Maine snowmobiles to be operated in New Hampshire and Vermont without being registered in those states.

"This means that all snowmobiles legally registered in New Hampshire and Vermont can be operated in Maine without a current Maine registration," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "We welcome these snowmobilers to explore more than 14,000 miles of Maine's interconnected, groomed and marked trails. As always, we encourage them to enjoy Maine's beautiful outdoors, but also urge them to ride safely."

The Maine Warden Service reminds snowmobilers to ride with caution at all times.

"With the increased traffic anticipated during the reciprocal snowmobile weekend, we remind all riders to obey laws of prudent operation, do not drink and drive, and be mindful that this is a family sport, so please keep our trails safe," said Maine Warden Colonel Joel Wilkinson. "Pay extra close attention to ice conditions on all Maine waterways especially when travelling at night, and ride with caution. We hope that enthusiasts participate in this great opportunity to discover Maine's tremendous snowmobiling opportunity."

Snowmobilers should stay off roads, ride at a reasonable speed, use hand signals and ride to the right.

If you need to register your snowmobile in Maine, visit:  https://www10.informe.org/ifw/atv-snow/.

For information about snowmobile laws and rules in Maine, visit: http://www.eregulations.com/maine/atv/snowmobile-laws-and-rules/.

For trail condition updates and trail maps, visit the Maine Snowmobile Association at: http://www.mesnow.com/

On The Trail to Increasing Your Land Value

There is something special about a walk in the woods. Inspecting the tracks of forest animals, listening to the distant "wack-wack-wack" of the pileated woodpecker, watching a busy beaver putting the finishing touches on her dam, these and many other woodsy events are just a few reasons why we own land. To better care for and use our property we enjoy creating and improving multi-use trails. Building trails improves our outdoor experience, while at the same time increases the lands value.

Before starting the physical work of trail building take some time to mentally plan the construction. What are the intended uses of the trail? Is it for accessing a location such as a hunting stand or scenic place, hiking and cross country skiing? Do you intend to have vehicles on it like ATV's, snowmobiles,  tractors, mountain bikes or others? How much traffic will your trail support? Asking yourself these and other questions will help you design a trail that meets your goals and will save you time and money.

Google Earth and the Maine office of GIS provide free solutions which can be used to plan and map your trail system. If you are not familiar with these programs see our post on using Google Earth. for some basic information. The topographic overlay from the Maine office of GIS in conjunction with Google Earth is especially useful.

Once you decide for what purpose and where you want the trail now is the time to get out on your property and scout out the best route. Online mapping got you a good start but it won't show you all the variations in the land like micro elevation changes or the best place to cross a creek for examples. Priorities when choosing the best route should include minimizing soil disturbance, protecting riparian areas and require a minimal amount of future trail maintenance. When done well trails enhance the recreational and economic use of the land today and for years to come.

You will need a few tools to create your trail. The following will get you started and may be all or more than you need.

  • Flagging Tape
  • Lopping Shears
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Lightweight Chainsaw
  • Brush Saw
  • Lawnmower

If I am out alone clearing trails to be used primarily for hiking, a good pair of shears and safety glasses are what I will bring. When making larger or wider trails power equipment is a big time and back saver. If you plan to use power equipment be sure to get good safety gear to protect yourself from injury.

Building trails is hard but rewarding work. So get out there and enjoy your land.

ARE YOU PREPARED TO BUY MAINE LAND

Are you planning on buying a parcel of Maine land this year? If so, you need to know a few things before you start, especially if you are not from here and/or have never purchased land before.

FINANCING

Before you fuel the car or buy the plane ticket, have you considered how you will pay for it? Obviously, if you have cash this item can be checked off your list. If you intend to get a loan to complete the purchase, you should know it is not the same process as getting a home mortgage. Most US banks do not do land loans. So if you planned on using the BIG bank you have a credit card or your home loan with, save yourself a lot of time and money by asking if they will finance raw land. Ask them questions like:

  • What down payment would be required?
  • Is there a limit on how many acres they will accept?
  • Do they do business in Maine?
  • Do they have approved appraisers and title companies in Maine?
  • Is your credit score high enough for their land loan program?

If you find out they will not do the loan, you just saved yourself hundreds of dollars in travel expenses. There are a few solid lenders who finance raw land in Maine. So if you need financing give us a call to get the list. Also, many sellers will consider owner financing their lands.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Maybe before calling the lenders, you should ask yourself why are you buying land? What is your intended use of the property? Did you get all the information on your target properties to be sure the ground will meet your needs and desires? For example, if you intend to use the land for raising cattle, is the land zoned for that use? If not, you are going to waste time and money coming to see it. Make a list of your concerns and get the answers before you come, a few example as follows:

  • Is the zoning in line with your intended use?
  • Is the property in a tax program that prohibits your intended use?
  • Are the soils OK for your use?
  • Does the property have utilities to it? If not and you require them, how far and how much to extend them?
  • Does the property have year round access?

CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT

The next item of preparedness that I nearly always forget to tell my customers before they get here is the appropriate clothing to wear for a visit to Maine. If you are looking at forested land, for example, and are unfamiliar with Maine, the forest here can be very dense and the ground uneven. Here is a checklist of the minimum gear you should have with you when you come.

  • Good pair of boots - waterproof if you have them
  • Sun or safety glasses to protect your eyes from tree branches
  • Layered clothing options for changing weather conditions
  • A waterproof coat

If you are working with one of us to show you the land, the above list will get you by. If you intend to do some exploring on your own, think about the following items:

  • A good compass
  • GPS
  • Maps of the areas of interest
  • Backpack
  • Water bottles
  • Snow shoes in winter

CUSTOMER OR CLIENT

The final question to ask yourself is are you confident enough to represent yourself or should you hire a broker to help you with the process. If you have the time you can do your own research and represent yourself in the process, but if you do not have time a good land broker is worth a look. Maine does require a real estate agent representing a buyer as a client to have a written buyer brokerage agreement, so if you do decide to go this route be sure to carefully review the contract to see what the agent's and your obligations are to each other.