JAY – Selectmen adopted six visitor rules, including a ban on smoking, alcoholic beverages and drugs, for about 200 acres of the Jay recreation area.

They also asked Town Manager Ruth Marden to get a legal opinion on where the school property ends before hunting access, if any, is determined. The land is located behind the high school and runs nearly to Route 133.

Members of the Jay High School Envirothon Team and Jay Recreation Committee proposed the rules for the property that is under development for multiuse and walking trails, educational programs and other recreation purposes.

“We tried really hard not to be too restrictive,” Recreation Committee Chairman Rob Taylor said. He is also the Envirothon Team coach and a local schoolteacher.

Taylor asked selectmen Monday to vote only on the first six rules so that they could begin preparing signs and to leave No. 7, which addresses hunting access, until the board gets legal advice on it.

By state law, it is illegal to discharge a firearm or crossbow within 300 feet of a residential dwelling or a farm building used for sheltering livestock, machines or harvested crops without the permission of the owner, or in the owner’s absence, an adult occupant who lives in that location. It is also illegal to possess firearms or crossbows on public school property or discharge a firearm within 500 feet of school property, which includes athletic fields, except as used in supervised educational programs or by law enforcement officials, according to Maine hunting and trapping laws.

The problem, Taylor said, is that all of the property belongs to the town. It must be determined where school property ends, he said, so a hunting buffer can be established, if that’s what selectmen want to do.

“I have mixed feelings about this,” Taylor said. “I am an avid hunter.”

People do hunt on the property, he said. “I hate to see any hunting area limitations, but I’ll be honest with you, we need some direction.”

Selectman Steve Barker said he didn’t think there was enough room for hunting on the property since there are multiuse trails and educational programs, among other things.

An easy solution would be to close it to all hunting, Taylor said.

The rules selectmen adopted designate two trails as walking trails only, with the exception of motorized vehicles allowed for education or maintenance purposes. One of those trails is a proposed stroller loop, and both are close to the school athletic fields and within the legal prohibition of shooting a firearm.

Bicycles, motorbikes, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and horses would be prohibited from going on those trails, Taylor said.

Visitors will be asked to respect a national set of principles to leave no trace of being there, Taylor said. Those principles include: Plan ahead and prepare, travel and recreate on durable surfaces by staying on trails, dispose of waste properly by adhering to the carry in and carry out concept, leave what you find such as flowers and shiny stones, respect wildlife, be considerate of other visitors and follow rules for open flames.

There are to be no fires on the ground, Taylor said. Use of propane and gas stoves is permitted as well as off-the-ground fire pit devices, he said.

“We didn’t put a strict no-leash law in,” Taylor said, but pets should be under supervision and control of their owners at all times. Owners are responsible for removing pet waste, he said.


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