I have been following with great interest the issues ATV owners/riders are having with landowners.

I do not own an ATV but I have family and friends who do.

I am president of our local snowmobile club. Every year the club gets permission from landowners to build and maintain trails. Once that happens the club submits a trail map to the state so all landowners are protected.

The clubs throughout Maine work hard on landowner relations so we can maintain our sport.

ATV owners and riders have to do the same for their sport.

Some 95 percent of people who ride ATVs or snowmobiles are responsible riders, obey the rules and seek permission. The rest do not care and feel it is their right to ride anywhere they want at any time. These folks are the ones who ruin it for everyone.

Right now ATV owners are taking a lot of heat from landowners. We need to be respectful of landowners’ rights.

Land in Maine is 95 percent privately owned and if operators continue to abuse the land we will not have any place to ride.

Maine must raise ATV registration fees from $12 to $32, the amount snowmobile owners pay to fund education and safety classes. ATV owners and riders should join clubs or form clubs and help with trail maintenance.

Maine cannot force ATV riders to respect landowners until the ATV riders as a group start honoring landowners.

Chip Gilbert, Turner

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