The Maine Legislature is considering a bill, LD 1156, that would — for the first time — put a Maine Trails Bond on the ballot to provide $30 million for the construction and maintenance of trails throughout Maine.

We could really use this investment to boost outdoor recreation in the Lewiston area and fix up the trails that have gotten run down over the years.

I am the general manager and co-owner of Central Maine Powersports, located in Lewiston. We have been annual business members of over 80 snowmobile and ATV clubs every year for the past 18 years. We direct about 80 new club members annually, and do over 900 PSA radio commercials, spreading the word “If you ride the trails, join a club or two — and consider volunteering.”

Our personal annual investment to these programs ranges between $25,000 and $30,000, and the need is far greater. The pool of volunteers is an extremely under-served commodity, and the lack of financial and law enforcement support for our recreational riding community is becoming detrimental.

The only way clubs can continue to support the landowners and our trail network, and keep up with the volume of riders today, is with subcontractor assistance and state financial support. Over the past 10 years snowmobile registration has dropped about 50%, and ATV registration has near tripled.

The Maine Trails Bond is an excellent foundation for support and collaboration with our communities and businesses. The positive financial impact on our communities is well worth the state’s investment.

Craig Anderson, South China

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