POLAND — An attempt to prohibit ATV and other motorized vehicles from using a stretch of town property to cross Route 26 failed at Tuesday night’s Select Board meeting.

Last October, the board allowed the Bog Hooters ATV Club to use the abandoned railroad bed alongside the Waterhouse Park and Trail for a two-year trial starting May 15, 2020. The riders could continue to Poland Corner Road and Aggregate Road, and cross Route 26 from the town property to reach Cyndi’s Dockside restaurant.

Fred Huntress, co-chairman of the Conservation Committee, and Trails Committee President Alan Audet presented a conservation proposal that would limit recreational use of 16 acres alongside Aggregate Road for 128 feet and along Route 26 for 3,000 feet.

Huntress and Audet spoke in opposition to ATV use of the trail last fall.

Calling it a ‘unique’ piece of property, Huntress’ proposal states it “provides excellent habitat for many species of aquatic and animals” including the gray fox, red fox, beaver, the river otter and migratory songbirds.

The proposal also points out the land holds an uncommon “stand of sapling-size pitch pine which seeded naturally on the sandy soil following the reconstruction of Route 26” over 20 years ago.

The plan, which would only allow foot traffic on the land, states, “pitch pines are native to Maine, are about 15 feet tall and 3-6 inches in diameter and should be protected and studied.”

Selectpersons unanimously agreed to allow the ATV club its two-year trial to use the trail.

Executive Assistant Nikki Pratt said the town bought the property in 1974 from Marcal Paper Co. Part of the property was conveyed to Regional School Unit 16 for its administration building and where school buses park.

Pratt pointed out the town has never been given a conservation plan on the property until now, three months before the trial run begins. “So we need to be really careful when we do these things that it doesn’t look like we’re putting it against anybody for bringing forward something else,” she said.

The property is in the Shoreland Zone and a large section is in the Resource Protection District, as defined by state statutes.

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