ROXBURY — Rain added to already saturated soils Tuesday afternoon on the Foley Trail for all-terrain vehicles.

It’s mud season for River Valley-area ATV trails and they’re all closed until June 1, according to posted signs.

Mike Worthley, president of the Roxbury ATV Riders Club, examined an exposed culvert Tuesday on the Foley Trail behind his home. The culvert washed out in April’s heavy rains.

“Just on this trail alone, I’ve got three of them,” he said of washouts. And those are just the ones he can reach.

He worries about not being able to check the rest of the club’s trails, because the ground is still too wet. Fresh dirt he shoveled into the culvert washout a day ago was already saturated. And one Roxbury trail in the Bemis Range toward Rangeley is still buried by snow.

Worthley gently lowered a metal ruler into the trail near the culvert until the ruler stopped descending.

“See that?” he asked. “That’s 8 inches of soft mud. That’s what we have to deal with. Before we can open the trails, we have to let that dry out.”

Worthley said the late winter has pushed the riding season back.

“I see all kinds of stories on TV and in newspapers where the state recommends May 15 is the end of mud season,” he said. “Well, that might be OK in Southern Maine, but not up here in Western Maine or Northern Maine.

“This is mud season. That’s why we’re closed,” Worthley said.

“We’re hoping to open them up for Memorial Day weekend, because we have a lot of business (from ATV enthusiasts). A lot of people come up for Memorial Day weekend. But we can’t get out on our trails to fix this until they’re dry enough to get on the trails to do it.”

All ATV trails maintained by Rumford ATV Riders, Mexico Riders, River Valley Riders and Roxbury ATV Riders are closed until further notice, Worthley said.

“I’ve got them closed down until June 1, but we’re hoping for May 24; May 24 being Memorial Day weekend,” he said.

“Some places are drier than others, but we made them ruts just coming down here,” he said, pointing back up the trail toward his house. “If we had 50 wheelers coming down through here, it wouldn’t be good. You can see the ruts we’re making with just the two of us (in a side-by-side wheeler).”

The trails also are closed to horses, he said.

“Horses do just as much damage as a four-wheeler and pickup trucks,” Worthley said. “It’s mud season. Mud season is mud season. Everybody should be out of it. Respect the landowners.”

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