LEWISTON — Whether he has city approval or not, Don Arel still has his land and he still has his friends.

And his friends still want to use his land.

“I’m not inviting anyone, but if my friends ask if they can come over and play, I say ‘fine,'” he said. “Me, my friends and my family are going to continue to use it.”

Arel’s All Wheels Off Road Park, at 50 Old Farm Road, is no more. All of the signs — those at the entrance as well as the ones that lined the property line — have been removed. So have the donation boxes at the entrance.

“They didn’t want the Facebook page, so we took it down,” Arel said.

The impromptu park was found to be violating city zoning codes. City officials ordered it closed last June. Arel had been letting friends use the 428 acres since he first purchased it in 1999 — allowing off-road vehicles access to his dirt trails and people to use of his shooting range, letting some camp overnight.


He’d investigated making it an official business, but backed down when he realized he’d need to fund expensive wetland studies and engineering reports to get city permission.

He believed he could operate the park as a hobby, however, and posted “donation” boxes at the entrance. Last year, he said he took in $8,000 that he used to help pay $12,000 in property taxes.

The city realized that Arel and his friends were promoting the park like a business, spreading the word with a Facebook page and hosting special events. They ordered him stop. So Arel said he has.

The land is mostly quiet now, although he does get requests from family and friends to come play.

“I say, let’s play. If the city wants to give me a fine, I want them to take me to court,” Arel said. “I want a judge to decide whether or not I can play on my land or have friends over to my house.”


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