KINGFIELD — Polaris launched Trails Grants program to boost trail preservation and rider safety in Maine, supporting Kingfield Quad Runners ATV Club. The announcement of the Trails Grants recipients marks a significant milestone for the Kingfield Quad Runners, as the club embarks on trail restoration projects in the wake of recent severe storms.

The Kingfield Quad Runners ATV Club has 55 miles of trails, including logging roads, rocky paths, and wet trails. The trails connect with trails in Bingham, Strong, and Salem, with a park-n-ride located at 169 Main St. in Kingfield.

Karyn Varney, secretary of the Kingfield ATV club, shed light on the magnitude of the task at hand, emphasizing the extensive damage to the trails connecting Kingfield to Lexington. “Our club has started work on the trail that extends from Kingfield to Lexington,” Varney said. This trail is going to require significant repairs. Last summer’s rainstorms as well as the December storm washed out a good portion of the trail.”

Varney described the trail as diverse, offering a mix of experiences. Starting with a steep and rocky climb up Stanley Hill, efforts are underway to make it safer for all riders. After the hill, the trail leads to a tote road, then winds through the woods to a private road. Riders can connect to trails maintained by Moose Alley Riders ATV Club, leading to Pleasant Ridge and Wyman Lake.

Damage from recent storms has temporarily closed the trail to Bingham, but once reopened, riders will have access to Bingham, windmills, and the Madison Branch railbed trail, added Varney.

Polaris’ Trails Grants program, with donations nearing $425,000 in Maine alone underscores the company’s stated commitment to fostering safe and responsible off-road recreation. Dana Anderson, director of community relations at Polaris Inc., said the program’s mission is to empower ATV enthusiasts while promoting environmental stewardship.

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“At Polaris, we place a premium on initiatives that not only enhance rider experiences but also safeguard our natural habitats,” Anderson said. “By supporting organizations like the Kingfield Quad Runners ATV Club, we aspire to cultivate a culture of environmental responsibility within the off-road community.”

Varney said, “The Polaris’ Trails Grants program provides funding to ATV clubs to repair and maintain their trails. Having safe trails available to ride is a privilege. Without our landowners and club members who volunteer their time, we would not be able to enjoy the sport we all love. We all need to respect the landowners’ wishes and support our clubs by riding responsibly.”

Chris Gamache, trails manager at Polaris Inc. highlighted the pivotal role played by volunteer-driven organizations in maintaining trail networks. “Volunteer clubs are a key component to keeping trails open for riders to enjoy,” Gamache said. “These clubs typically have to rely on public grants and fundraising to do trail maintenance. The Polaris grants are providing additional funding to perform projects that might otherwise not be worked on due to lack of funding.”

Varney stressed the vital role of Polaris donations for Maine’s ATV clubs. With 146 clubs in the state, these funds support trail repairs. Grants cover 90% of approved repair costs, sourced from registration sales and gas tax. Polaris donations supplement state grants, crucial for financing projects beyond grant coverage.

“Our club will be investing the funds into our trail that extends from Kingfield to Lexington,” Varney said. “Our club is a small club. Last year we had 46 family memberships. Our club does not own any large equipment for trail maintenance.” Varney said the club plans to use funds to hire local contractors for trail repairs, ensuring safety and enjoyment for club members and riders.

Anderson said, “Our commitment extends beyond trail maintenance to nurturing future leaders who champion sustainable recreation practices. This means being good stewards of our environment and leaving areas better than we found them.”

Recreational activities are integral to Kingfield, emphasized Varney, citing their prominence in the town’s Comprehensive Plan. They bring positive impacts, drawing visitors for various amenities. Varney noted Polaris’ commitment to supporting ATV clubs, recognizing their role in community development. Investments in such organizations, Varney stressed, aid in achieving safe, enjoyable trails. She highlighted the volunteer-driven nature of these clubs, noting their diverse responsibilities.

“The most important role is ensuring our landowners are happy. Without them our sport is not possible,” Varney said. “Keeping landowners happy means keeping the trails on their land safe, well maintained and damage free.”


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