WINTHROP — The stewards of a 637-acre tract around Mount Pisgah plan to gate the entrance to discourage all-terrain vehicles from tearing up trails meant for hikers, mountain bikes and snowmobiles.

“In some places, the damaged areas are so deep and wide that even snowmobiles will be unable to get by unless work is done,” said Theresa Kerchner, the executive director of the Kennebec Land Trust, which owns the property.

For years, people have been ignoring signs that ban motorized vehicles on the land, Kerchner said. In the past six months to a year the land trust has doubled the number of signs around the area.

“This is conservation land,” Kerchner said. “They’re probably going up there to enjoy the view like everybody else.” But the roads are suffering. In one place, gullies and small ponds have replaced a hiking trail due to erosion.

The only motorized vehicles allowed are snowmobiles, and they have little impact on the trails since the ground is frozen when they travel. The clubs work hard to maintain the trails. Once the gate is erected, it will be opened in the wintertime for the snow machines.

The land trust plans to hold a community meeting this fall to discuss trail improvements and other projects.


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