FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to revoke their permission for ATVs to ride 5 miles on Reeds Mills Road in Madrid Township to get to a trail.

Commissioners gave approval in late July, though Franklin County Chief Deputy Steve Lowell said then that he was concerned because the road is not very wide and has hills and curves.

“I believe we made a big mistake,” Commissioner Clyde Barker of Strong said Tuesday. He said he spent 20 minutes at an intersection and one side-by-side skidded on the road and a four-wheeler passed the other vehicle on a bridge. The latter drove in the middle of the road, he said, when a pulp truck was trying to drive on it.

Barker had previously warned that he could see people abusing the opportunity.

An unnamed resident who lives on a side road said ATVs are driving up Center Road as well and continue up to private property.

Commissioner Lance Harvell of Farmington said he spoke to people in the area and they are “saying someone is going to get killed.”

Commissioners previously said the ATVers could ride on the road on a trial basis for a year, but if it was abused they could revoke their decision.

Barker said it was enough of a problem to revoke permission.

By the time a law enforcement officer, including a deputy or a game warden, could respond to a complaint, the ATVs would be gone.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Jacob Richards, who lives and patrols in the area, said “it is very dangerous.”

Commissioners agreed to give ATV club members until Sept. 15 to take down the signs indicating ATV access is allowed.

Mike Pond, the county’s road supervisor for the unorganized territory, told commissioners in July that the ATV club in the Madrid Township area asked him about riding on the entire length of Reeds Mills Road to access the next trail.

It is not believed the ATV club members in the area are causing the problem.

Pond previously told commissioners there have been two pretty large land purchases in the area and people don’t want ATVs and snowmobiles on the property. A trail to Rangeley is also gone.

There are rules and regulations they are supposed follow, Pond said Tuesday.

County Finance Manager Vickie Braley said a sign would be put up and an ad made to announce the decision.


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