WATERFORD — ATV Trail riding is a recreational activity that’s growing in popularity in Maine.

Along with this increase in popularity comes increased trail usage and “wear and tear.” Many ATV clubs in the Oxford Hills area make concerted efforts to keep trails in good shape for many reasons; chief among them is to retain good relationships with the landowners who generously give permission to ATV riders to travel through their property.

Another reason is to prevent trails from becoming so excessively rutted as to be hazardous to rider safety.

Proper trail maintenance is essential to keeping both landowners happy and trails safe but there are also other considerations: erosion prevention and water quality protection. Trails that are experiencing excessive erosion are likely to adversely impact the water quality of nearby streams, ponds and lakes by allowing eroded soil and sediments to wash into them. Soil is actually the most common water pollutant and greatest single contributor to declining water quality. By using trail maintenance practices, referred to as BMPs or “Best Management Practices,” trails are less likely to erode and transport sediments to water bodies.

In cooperation with Pulpit Rock Trail Blazahs, the Maine Department of Conservation-Off Road Vehicle Division and the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District, a free Recreational Trail BMP Workshop will be presented on Saturday, May 31, at the Pulpit Rock Trail Blazahs’ trail system in North Waterford. This event is a walking tour on flat ground, rain or shine. Wear appropriate footwear and clothing.

The workshop will involve a field visit to an ATV trail problem site to demonstrate some of the BMPs that can be applied. Topics covered will include wet ground crossings, bridging streams and sizing bridges, drive-through water bars, permits, timing of work, BMP compliance, tools and tips.

The workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at noon. Coffee and snacks will be provided.

Anyone interested in attending is encouraged to preregister by calling Michele Windsor at the Oxford County SWCD office, 743-5789, ext. 101. Directions to the workshop location will be provided upon registration and there will be directional signage at the intersection of Route 118 and Valley Road.

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