ATV

How Snowmobile and ATV Trails Effect Maine Real Estate

Why do you want to purchase a Maine log cabin or seasonal home for vacation with lots of land? Many buyers do for recreation opportunities. Acreage that fronts a local trail system or one of the statewide ITS snowmobile trails is appealing to many buyers who love outdoor power sports. ATV riders often enjoy rules in Maine that allow their machines to be operated on or along paved roads to access connecting trails.

Are Trails an Easement?

Riding the trails in Maine is a tradition that goes back nearly 100 years. Aside from a few state owned trails, snowmobile and ATV trails are on private land with land owner's permission. Keep this in mind while you are enjoying the ride and appreciating the views along the trail. The property owner has no obligation to allow this access. Large land companies allow this for public relations. Private individual landowners may allow access because they like to ride or just do so to help their neighbors enjoy Maine. All do this for free. You can help avoid losing this access by staying on the trails and practicing carry in carry out ethics.

Trails Impact Market Value

We are often asked if a trail on near a land listing has a positive or negative effect on the property's market value. The influence on value will be a positive if the majority of prospective buyers like snowmobiling and off road vehicle sports. A large segment of buyers do enjoy it and either live here or come to Maine for the extensive trail system. The trail can have a negative impact on value if it is poorly situated, too close to an existing home or camp and if it has damaged the property with deep ruts and litter left behind by irresponsible operators.

Liability

Another question that is often asked us by prospective buyers is "What liability will I have because a trail crosses or fronts my property?" The State of Maine has a landowner liability law also referred to as the recreational use statute. The law favors Maine landowners and protects them from suits brought by persons on your land for recreation and other uses.  According to the Maine.gov web page, there has not been a single reported successful case against a landowner where the Maine Landowner Liability law applied.

Join a Club

If you love power sports you need to join a snowmobile or ATV club or organization. These groups are organized by community leaders who help maintain trails, work to get landowner permission for the trails, organize rides, do community and charitable fund raising, maintain club houses for a place to stop or trailer to and so many other benefits not mentioned here. If you do not have time to participate, at least make the monetary contribution of membership. This money will help keep your favorite trails open.

Finding Trail Maps

Maps are not always easy to find. Local club membership will help make locating a map easier. Club membership also will introduce you to experienced riders who often will show you the trails. Many of Maine's recreational trails are in remote regions, for safety, try to ride with others in case of a breakdown. The Maine Snowmobile Association has an excellent trail map of Maine's ITS trails. See the links below to help understand Maine liability laws, locate trail maps and clubs for different regions of Maine.

Maine Landowner Liability Information

https://www1.maine.gov/IFW/aboutus/commissioners_office/OutdoorPartnersPgrm/landowner_liability_explained.htm

Maine Snowmobile Association

http://www.mesnow.com/

ATV Maine

http://www.atvmaine.org/

ATV Trails and Land Use in Maine

People purchase property in Maine for many reasons but at some level the recreational opportunities are always a factor.  It doesn't matter what time of year, if you enjoy the outdoors there are always activities available regardless of your age. Winter in Maine offers snowshoeing, ice fishing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing and snowmobiling.  The clear blue skies and fresh white snow draping the landscape is a sight to see. Spring in Maine, a welcome season after a long winter brings some of the best brook trout fishing in the Northeast.  Ice out on our lakes brings anglers a cure from the cabin fever and trolling for salmon can be very productive. With the spring thaw comes our mud season and once things dry out the ATV trails open up (usually mid May) over 6,000 miles of club trails across Maine.  As an outdoor enthusiast, I am very thankful for the private landowners that allow multiuse trail systems to be used across their lands. Between snowmobiles and ATV's, businesses across Maine realize a big economic boom from these types of recreational activities.  An economic study completed by the University of Maine in 2005 showed a net spending of $156 million for the 2003-2004 season. If you enjoy ATV riding, we have some of the most affordable properties in Maine for sale with easy access to the trails and you can see them at LandBrothers.com Some things you should know and prepare for to make your atv trip in Maine safe and enjoyable are as follows:

  1. Make sure your ATV is registered and properly marked front and back with the registration number.
  2. Children must be at least 10 years old, have passed a state ATV safety program, wear an approved helmet if under 18 years old and riders between 10-16 years of age must be under the direct visual and audio supervision of an adult (21 or older). Approved helmets must have a "DOT", "SNELL" or "ANSI" sticker.
  3. When riding, stay on market trails and for unmarked trails you need landowner permission.
  4. Plan your trip of where you will be riding in advance. Make sure you have trail maps and more importantly call the local club trail master to check on trail conditions and technical difficulty of each trail. Trail maps do not indicate the difficulty or skill level needed to traverse any given trail number so it is critical to your safety to contact the trail master and ask what trails will get you to where you want to go safely.
  5. Use the buddy system and never ride alone. Make sure you leave a map of your route and travel plans with someone outside your party in case of an emergency.
  6. Check the weather for the area you will be riding and bring the right clothing. Always bring a first aid kit, survival kit, and tool kit. The biggest killer of people recreating outdoors is hypothermia from spring to late fall. The nights in Maine do get cold so be prepared, especially if you are taking a long ATV trip on remote trails that are miles from services.
  7. The day of your trip make sure you have filled the gas tank and perform a pre-ride inspection of your ATV. The web site www.offroad-ed.com has some great videos on safety, pre-ride inspection and safe riding techniques.
  8. On multi-use trails be sure to respect the right of other non ATV riders to use the trail system. If you meet someone on horseback, please pull off to the side and shut your machine off. Wait until they have passed a clear distance or if they waive you on.
  9. Remember, using these trails is a privilege and not a right. You are enjoying these trails by the good graces of the land owner. If you see some trash on the land and can pick it up, please do. If it is a large amount of trash, call the Maine Warden Service, Landowner Relations Program and report the area.

Be safe and enjoy the great state of Maine!