Otisfield selectmen adopt ATV policy

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OTISFIELD — Selectmen voted Dec. 16 to implement a one-year trial all-terrain vehicle policy that will allow ATVs to use certain sections of public roads.

The policy will detail speed limits, hours of use, the roads which ATVs can use and other specific information. The season will begin May 15.

ATV riders approached the board last fall to say they were forming the Otisfield Trail Blazers ATV Club and asking for permission to use some town roads to access their trails.

A public hearing was held last month when the board said there were concerns by residents, but it appeared a majority of people favored the request.

Members of nearby Oxford and Lakes Region ATV clubs also attended last week’s meeting to support ATV riders and to provide more information about how the policy can be successfully implemented. Members of other clubs said the key to the success of the policy will be communication, and in large part, riders policing themselves.

Selectman Rick Micklon said he wants to make sure the board is sensitive to people who have concerns and all agreed that the policy should be revisited in a year. The board has the right to pull the policy before that if it is not working well.

Michele Windsor of the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District updated the board on a grant used to protect the Crooked River Watershed. Windsor said that major impacts to the watershed have been the roads and sediments washed into the watershed from roads.

The grant has been used, in part, to identify sites that have been adversely affected by erosion. Property owners were eligible for free technical assistance and cost-share funding to address erosion on their property.

The intent of the projects is to divert and infiltrate stormwater runoff to minimize sediment and other surface pollutants from washing into the Crooked River.

The Crooked River Watershed is about 120 square miles in the towns of Bethel, Greenwood, Stoneham, Albany Township, Waterford, Norway, Harrison, Otisfield, Naples and Casco.

Selectmen also agreed to use some of the $57,500 lease fee from a tax-acquired lot in Heniger Park to make improvements to lighting and other issues at the Community Hall on Route 121.

The board agreed to use about $2,500 for a fire suppressant hood over the hall’s stove and $2,400 for the second outdoor fuel tank and improved lighting.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net