ATV Club members keep trails safe, smooth for others

 

ON SUNDAY — a crew of about six men extended the Otisfield Bridge to battle erosion at that spot along the trail system that is part of JugTown. Those who helped with the work last weekend included: Bill Chute, Lonney Girard, Ernest Hinkley II, Jay Morse, Eric Lacrasse and David Hicks. (Photo courtesy of Bill Chute)

ON SUNDAY — a crew of about six men extended the Otisfield Bridge to battle erosion at that spot along the trail system that is part of JugTown. Those who helped with the work last weekend included: Bill Chute, Lonney Girard, Ernest Hinkley II, Jay Morse, Eric Lacrasse and David Hicks. (Photo courtesy of Bill Chute)

What: The Lakes Region ATV Club

Why: To ride with other people, to help with JugTown Trail work projects, to go on planned rides

Ways to contact: Meets every third Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Casco Central Fire Station, or through social media Lakes Region ATV Club on Facebook, or download membership form from the website, www.lakesregionATVclub.com

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — In mid-August, a full moon that appeared after sunset was among the many highlights for about 25 people riding ATVs during an organized night ride.

“The special thing about the night was that full moon. That made the difference. It was amazing to see it come up,” said the Club President Lonney Girard.

“A night ride: it is different. The woods are different to be in at night than during the day. You get to see more wildlife coming out at night. If you make a loop, you see the lights of the other machines go by you,” Girard said.

Bill Chute, the trail master for the Lakes Region ATV Club agreed.

“It was pretty cool. It was a night ride. There was a big full moon. It was a great temperature,” Chute said, adding that it was a particularly bright full moon that kept the riders company.

The group held a barbecue first, riding the trails after they had eaten dinner, and ending the evening with a fireworks show.

The club is planning one more night ride in September or October; and during its meeting today, club members will decide on the best weekend.

That same weekend that Girard and Chute enjoyed the nighttime ATV outing with their friends and family, they had joined a force of about a half-dozen men to do trail work.

First, the group lengthened Fountain Hill Bridge to bring the crossing beyond where erosion was taking place.

They ended up adding an extra 10 feet to what they had originally planned.

“We had an erosion issue and we made it longer,” Girard said.

“It should last a long time,” Chute said.

NW dd34 PHOTO possibilityThen again, on Sunday morning, six men did the same thing at the Otisfield Bridge — they extended it to battle erosion.

Those who helped with the work on the Otisfield Bridge included: Ernest Hinkley II, Jay Morse, Eric Lacrasse and David Hicks as well as Chute and Girard.

“Both bridges ended up being longer,” Girard said.

“The Otisfield Bridge behind the transfer station — we thought it would be eight feet longer; it ended up being 26. Fountain Hill Bridge — we thought eight and 10 feet on each side; it ended up being 16 and 12,” he said.

“Sometimes, when you work on the projects and measure thing many times, it ends up being different. It is important that where the bridge ends, that the ground won’t get torn up,” he said.

Also, on Aug. 13, Bill Chute’s father, Larry Chute, used an excavator to stem some extreme erosion caused by heavy rains in a very sandy section of the trail.

“The machine was used to put in a culvert to divert water during strong rain showers,” Bill Chute said.

Also, the excavator filled the gaping chasm left behind when the sand was washed away — a trail hazard the Bill came upon earlier in the month.

Girard said the club operates almost solely on the $6,000 annual grant it receives from the state to maintain the Jugtown Trail system. He is thankful to have a good relationship with someone who can operate an excavator, and is willing to provide the service at an affordable price.

He is also thankful to local landowners, in particular Hancock Lumber Company.

“Without cooperative landowners, we wouldn’t have the riding trails we do,” he said.

There are three future trail repair jobs on the club’s to-do list, Girard said.

The plan is to rebuild the trail between Quaker Ridge Road and Route 11, and between Route 11 to Leach Hill Road.

“In Bridgton, we will be rebuilding the trail on Loon Echo (Land Trust) land and Five Fields Farm land. It’s about three-eighths mile. That is just an improvement,” he said.

The club also aims to redeck the Bill Osgood Bridge on the pipeline trail. That bridge is named after the former club president.

“The club tries to be as proactive as we can instead of reactive. We all have full-time jobs. We are very busy, and we have limited amount of time to get the trail work done,” Girard said.

The autumn time will also bring some opportunities for people to join a few planned rides.

“We are doing a Mount Washington ride on Sept. 21. The state of New Hampshire waives the fees since we are showing up as a club,” he said.

“We have an apple orchard ride on the Bridgton Trails. We donate half the proceeds from the ride to a local charity.

Two years ago, we did Harvest Hills Animal Shelter. Last year, we gave to a couple of local food pantries,” he said.

“Every year, the members decide which charity we help out. We try to keep it local. We want to support the people in our local area,” he said.

 

 

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