BUCKFIELD – Dale Cook’s road is peaceful – except when the ATVs come roaring through.

Cook is one of several residents on Railroad Bed Road who are upset that the trail outside their house is being abused by speeding four-wheelers.

“They abuse the road and regulations by driving too fast,” Cook said.

ATVs are also noisy, and riders come through in late night hours, Cook said.

Residents must repair damage done to their property or it can become a problem come plow time.

Railroad Bed Road used to be a private road, said Lois Knapp, who has lived on the road for 22 years. Several years ago it was opened as a multi-use recreational trail.

Cook has taken the issue up with selectmen and at town meetings, however there’s not much they can do, Cook said.

Glen Holmes, Buckfield town manager, said town officials have looked at the issue.

“Like any other road, some people speed, some people don’t,” Holmes said.

Holmes said some residents have requested that the trail be closed, however that would be too disruptive to traffic patterns.

Town officials are trying to identify people who abuse the trail and have conversations with them and, where applicable, their parents, Holmes said.

“It’s difficult,” Holmes said. “It’s a fairly straight, fairly smooth trail. Four-wheelers can wind it up pretty fast.”

Game wardens are responsible for the ATV trail and enforcing regulations. Officials from the warden’s office could not be reached Tuesday.

A sign at the entrance to Railroad Bed Road warns ATV riders: “Please slow down or you’ll ruin it for all of us.” Knapp said area ATV clubs have tried to slow riders down by posting signs, yet: “The signs don’t last, or our private property signs,” Knapp said. “It never was like this before.”

Robert McAllister, vice president of the Sumner ATV club, said that the club has permission from Buckfield to use the trail. The club assumes all responsibility for any damage caused to trails, and it has an individual who will repair it.

Cook stressed that he has no problem with ATV riders, and that 90 percent use the trail respectively.

However, “Like anything else, it’s the 10 percent that ruins it for everyone else,” Cook said.



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