WILTON — The Wilton Select Board approved a new policy for the town’s ATV access route at the Tuesday, April 5, meeting.

The ATV access route runs through Wilton to connect the Whistle Stop Trail to the Temple trail system. It starts at the Whistle Stop Trail Head on Depot Street, runs down Main Street to Temple Road with additional access to the boat launch via Canal Street.

The policy stipulates the following:

• The routes are open per the Whistle Stop’s policy from sunrise to sunset and stipulated months.

• Town officials will conduct an annual review of the access routes in December to identify any concerns, need for amendments to the policy or possible need for closure.

• Operators under 18 years old must have a drivers license and be accompanied by an adult over the age of 21.


• ATVs cannot park or ride on sidewalks. They may only park in public parking lots or vehicle parking spots.

• “Use and operation of an ATV on a public way shall not obstruct or interfere with the use of the way by traffic or pedestrians.”

• Usage of ATVs on the access route must comply with the Maine statute “Operation of ATVs” (12 M.R.S. § 13157-A).

• Stipulated speed limits on the access route, varied by road and posted on signs.

The board made some amendments to the policy before passing it during the meeting.

The policy originally stipulated three different speed limits based on the original limits of the various roads.


Select Board Chair David Leavitt suggested there should be “consistency.”

Town Manager Rhonda Irish said the issue with maintaining consistency is how it impacts roads with higher limits, such as the Temple Road. Slower limits could cause ATV riders to hug the side of the road more, which can wear away the tar, Irish said.

Martha Eastman with the Temple Trail Riders said the signs made by the club will instruct ATV riders to “stay on the tar.”

Eastman also pointed out the trails themselves institute a 20 mph speed limit.

“I’m okay with the 20. But I would think that we would have one speed,” Leavitt said. That way it’s easier for police to remember and enforce the various speed limits, he added.

Can there be consistency by having ATV limits in accordance with preexisting limits for regular vehicles, Selectperson Keith Swett asked.


Wilton Police Department Sergeant Ethan Kyes said no, because the Department of Transportation speed limit is 25 mph.

The speed limits approved are: 25 mph on Main Street in East Wilton and from Davis Court Road to Main Street to Wilton Downtown Memorial; 20 mph on Temple Road; and 30 mph on Depot Street to Davis Court Road.

In an email, Irish explained “It was determined that for the ATV access route for Depot St and Main St that it would not be safe for ATV’s to go slower than the traffic, because the roads are narrow on those two roads, and it would not be safe for vehicles to try to pass the ATV’s.  ATV’s are to go with the flow of the traffic on Main Street and Depot Street.  The different speed limits on these roads are the posted speed limits, so if the speed limit is 30, that’s the speed limit for the ATV’s.”

Another question raised about the policy was whether the access route will include areas around Wilson Lake for easy access.

Irish said town departments and employees were concerned with adding more “congestion” around the lake.

She suggested the board waits to see how the access route impacts overall congestion in town and then reevaluate next December.


“I don’t think we should hold them back,” Swett said. “The original request was to get to the lake and we’ve stopped short of that original request.”

The bridge to the lake and boat launch is narrow and already congested with people bringing over boats, Irish said. There are a number of lots on High and Canal streets with easy access to the lake, she added.

“I don’t think we’re gonna have a hundred [ATV riders] down there at one time trying to do something,” Swett said.

The board agreed and ultimately extended the route to the boat landing via Canal Street while barring riders from going across the bridge.

Signs will soon be posted and a trail map for the town will be updated with the new access route and speed limits, Eastman said.

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