ATVs, dirt bikes banned from Oak Street Extension

RUMFORD — A path between Bean Brook and Maple Street properties is now off limits to all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes that have been ridden on it for decades.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal file photo

Maple Street residents Bill and Peggy Malley told Rumford selectmen last week that they are posting Oak Street Extension to not allow all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes there. They recently learned they own that land, not the town.

Bill and Peggy Malley of Maple Street decided to post their land on both sides of the path — known as Oak Street Extension — after learning last week that they own the land and not the town.

“We're not granting permission for people to pass through it, because we own property on both sides,” Bill Malley told selectmen at their July 1 board meeting. “Hopefully, something can be worked out elsewhere.”

That came after Town Manager Carlo Puiia read the opinion of town attorney Thomas Carey.

At the board's June 17 meeting, the Malleys sought help from selectmen to curb noise and unruliness by ATV and dirt bike riders they claimed were breaking town law by riding within 200 feet of their home. That's also a state law.

Because they said the problem had recently worsened in the 30 years they've lived there, the Malleys asked selectmen to ban ATVS and dirt bikes from using Oak Street Extension.

Selectmen, however, tabled the matter to their July 1 meeting, to run it past Carey before taking action.

At last week's meeting, Puiia, reading state law, said that without landowner permission, ATVs are limited to approved trails only.

The statute also states that an ATV can be operated on a portion of a public way, which is defined as a right of way over which the general public has a right to pass, Puiia said.

Additionally, the law states that a person may not operate an ATV within 200 feet of a dwelling unless it is a public way.

Carey said Oak Street Extension isn't an approved trail or a public way.

It's what's known as a paper street, meaning it's laid out only on paper as a street, but it was never physically made into a street.

“A paper street is not a public way,” Carey said. “A paper street is only a potential indication of land of the town to be used as a street.

“The Oak Street Extension is a paper street. So, although it has the potential to become a public way, it does not become one until the town reserves that right and votes to accept that street as a town way, which the town has not done to my knowledge.”

Carey said that having reviewed state statutes concerning ATVs and definitions of a public way and paper streets, “It is my opinion that Oak Street Extension is owned by private landowners.”

“The town has no ownership of the property for the purposes of controlling ATV access, and only the right to use it as a street upon town vote,” he said. “As a result, it is the landowners who will decide whether or not to give permission to ATVs.”

“It's very much his opinion that we don't have the right to post it, but those who have lots next to it have the right to either post it or allow it,” Puiia said.

Peggy Malley then sought clarification from Puiia.

“Since it's not a public way, then it's illegal to ride within 200 feet of our house?”

“Yes,” Puiia replied.

“Then we will be posting it,” both Malleys said.

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Jack Kaubris's picture


Why don't you post on here where your 'land' is so the Malleys and everyone else in the State can come over and enjoy 'exploring' your property as they see fit. I doubt either of you own property or you wouldn't be calling the Malleys "pricks' for deciding what they want to do with their own land. So how about it boys? Post some info here...or do you want to 'ruin other people's fun'?

 's picture

within 200 feet

Article says within 200 feet of their home. And who cares if the landowner ever goes there - it's still their land to do with as they see fit. Get your own land, freeloader.

Yeah Nancy

Yes I do know! Watchdog I thought was appropriate because for 21 years I have tried to keep taxes down in this Town. We are not a city but a town with a dwindling population. We can no longer afford escalating taxes. Example 1. A full time Welfare person. This should be administered out of town managers office. 2. The tax office was given the ok to hire two part-time people to save monies. This did not happen because the new collector was allowed to give one individual and extra hr. as to be eligible for a benefit package as well as giving one 3 dollars more than the other because he was a male. Discrimination ! Both were hired with no prior experince. and both at same rate of pay. 3. Special interest groups have run this town for years. The secret ballot ended that but has created a snowl at the voting booths because of lack of insight from clerks office by not having more than two machine at polls at a time. 4. We have three major dept. that are oversized for our population. 5. We rentivated the town hall but is it really handicapped exceesible. I don't think so ! 6. Is locking the door at 4pm everyday to access the police dept. a safety issue? 6. Will there be a push for consolidation of/merging of towns . 7. Not with this Board or manager. Dwilson why don't you deal with these issues a little more. Watchdog has tried but got no where because of special interest groups who have run the town of Rumford for years. The people need to be more proactive themselves and take the blinders off in order to move forward. Liberals should not be allowed in office. But they are in control now.

 's picture


Yes, they don't want dirtbags tearing up their property, having fun at other people's expense.

About time

I hope xyz is one of those people who ATV or snowmobile who has no respect for others and gets caught riding on posted land and throw in jail. Of course that won't happen with the police department we have. They allow one individuals to continue feeding the geese in the Boivin Park. What do they do when patroling. Just drink coffee and become less observant.

 's picture

Sad facts

This is just another example of riders abusing and losing riding trails, the one or two bad apples ruin it for the rest. I too have had to close a trail because of a few bad apples with no respect, loud pipes and littering up the property. Fact is I really didn't want to but I refuse to have to clean up MY property because of my generosity being taken advantage of.


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