Over two dozen residents from Canton and Hartford attended the Select Board meeting on Thursday at the Canton Town Office meeting room to discuss the ATV trails in both towns and to listen to a discussion with Canton Baptist Church Food Pantry Directors Helen and Jim Martin, who spoke about the pantry’s electric bill and its services in the community. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

CANTON — The Select Board will wait for written approval from landowners in Hartford before approving trail access for ATVs in Canton and trails that run through Hartford, board members said at their meeting on Thursday.

Thursday’s meeting was the second time the Select Board met with residents on the trail-access issue, including ATV club members from Canton and Hartford. The board originally planned to vote regarding allowing an ATV access route on Staples Hill Road, but the vote was tabled when they realized they also need landowner permission from Hartford landowners, said Selectman Brian Keene.

“At this point, there has been no approval given for that route (Pine Shores Trail in Hartford) even though there has been some rumblings about it — that it’s already been approved — (but) it has not been approved yet,” Keene said.

Dan Brissette, a member of Hartford’s ATV club, spoke several times at Thursday’s meeting, telling Keene and the other select board members that Pine Shores Trail in Hartford is “a multi-purpose trail and we’ve been using it forever,” and that “it would be foolish for (the board) not to approve (ATV use of the trails).”

However, Dave Bowen, also a Hartford resident, said there were “seven other property owners that own the other half of Pine Shores (trail area) that you should ask (permission for trail use).”

Brissette continued to tell the selectmen why they do not need to be concerned about approving the trail use, including in Hartford, though he later agreed to contact the landowners for their written permission, as Selectwoman Vice-Chair Michelle Larrivee said was needed.

In other business, the selectmen decided that residents will vote at the town meeting in June whether they approve of paying the electric bill for the Canton Baptist Church Food Pantry, which is in the town’s fire department building and provides free food for 216 people in the community, Helen Martin said at Thursday’s meeting.

Martin told the Select Board that the church does not financially support the food pantry and its funding comes from “corporate (funding), personal donations, grants, and fundraising efforts.” She asked that the town continue to pay the food pantry’s electric bills because of its needed services in the community.

Jim Martin, second from left in the front row, discusses the Canton Baptist Church Food Pantry’s electric bill and services in the community at the selectmen’s meeting on Thursday. He and his wife Helen, seated beside him at the end of the row, are the food pantry directors.  Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

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