MEXICO — Police Chief Roy Hodsdon has been trying to spread the word that anyone caught riding an all-terrain vehicle in town will be summoned, because all trails remain closed.

And because the trails are closed, town public access roads are also closed.

“It’s important to remember that all local trails are closed to ATVs till at least mid-May,” Hodsdon said. “They are closed to allow the trails to dry from the winter snow. All riders need to respect the local land owners property.”

He said he and fellow officers are dealing with people riding ATVs on trails and public ways.

“We’re seeing an increase of them out and about,” Hodsdon said. “The snow is melting, but it’s important for people to realize that the trails are wet and they shouldn’t be on them until they are posted to do that, and if we do catch people on them, we will issue summonses for operating on a closed trail.”

At 7:26 p.m. March 24, he said he stopped an ATV rider “operating right down the road on Riverside Drive.”

Hodsdon said he gave the rider a warning, because he was on a paved road instead of a dirt trail.

At a minimum, all area trails are closed until the middle of May. He said he had talked with Roxbury ATV Riders Club President Michael Worthley and learned that they, too, are having problems with people riding the closed trails.

“Riding wet trails will ruin them, and if landowners find this happening, they can close the trails down for good,” Hodsdon said. “So we’re hoping that that doesn’t happen.”

In other Mexico ATV news, Mexico police are offering an ATV Safety Course on April 18 at the Roxbury Town Office in conjunction with the Roxbury ATV Riders Club.

“It educates both the parents and the youth about laws about when they can and cannot run these ATVs and how to operate them safely,” he said.

To participate, Mexico police can be contacted at 364-5686 or by messaging Hodsdon via the department’s Facebook site at www.facebook.com/pages/Mexico-ME-Police-Department/169214519763637?fref=ts, or Roxbury ATV Riders Club member Roland Patneaude at 562-0949.

The class, which is open to anyone, is free to take and a free lunch is also provided by the Roxbury club.

“We say we like to have children 10 and over, but we’re not going to turn anyone down if they’re 9 years old and show up with a parent,” Hodsdon said. “But the parents do have to attend or a legal guardian.”

Youth ages 13 to 15 must have taken the ATV safety class to be able to ride ATVs with their parents. Hodsdon said Mexico police have been doing the class since 2006 or 2007.

Hodsdon said the Police Department recently received a $3,000 ATV grant from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to patrol the trails.

“That will start once the trails open,” he said. The grant is one of two the department receives. The first grant is good for May through the end of July and the second is for August through either October or November.

The grant provides for officers to patrol local trails. When the trails are open, Hodsdon said some days officers will go out and see 100 ATV riders and on other days, see very few. So they started changing patrol times and going out at night.

“Right now we have to educate people, but if we catch dad and the kids and three of the four machines are not registered, we educate them and give them a warning,” he said.

“The ones we’re looking for are the ones causing all the issues on the trails and riding up and down the roads. Those are the ones we issue summonses. We like to start with education, and then progress to summonses if that doesn’t work.”

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