As CheapJ mentioned, maine is 96% privately owned land.
A lot of renegade wheelers and individuals with poor ethics abuse the trust of many land owners here in Maine. Personally, I've been involved with a few clean ups (and I know CheapJ has been as well and can definitely second this.) It is absolutely absurd what is dumped only feet away from a major highway at the entrance to a trail or trail system on a privately owned plot of land.
We've pulled everything from tires and TV's to Hot Tubs and entire bathrooms (walls, sinks, toilets, tubs, fixtures, lights, drywall, greenboard, tiles... yes, entire bathrooms) white goods, literal PILES of lead bullets... you name it, I've probably picked it up and thrown it into the back of a city truck to be taken to a transfer station or stuffed it into a trash bag for removal and proper disposal.
Another huge issue is mudding. There's a few places in the state where clay-lined strips are prepared and filled with slop. Trucks run 'em and it's a great time for everyone.... annnd just about everywhere else that there is a dirt road or a private land-owner's access road... the renegades and irresponsible individuals think it's fun/cool/acceptable to make their own mud run. Roads get annihilated, washouts become severe, to the point of making the road impassable by all but the most heavily modified trailer queen rigs (not the small pickup owned by the property owner that needs access to the back areas of their property) the runoff pollutes local bodies of water, invasive species are spread, endangered species are either chased out of their natural habitat or are affected by the severe shock to the local environment... The effects to the local area are absolutely tragic... simply because a naive individual or group of individuals choose to go have fun.
Joining a responsible local OHV organization is truly the only way I have learned of to enjoy the sport of off-roading in such a way that significantly reduces and limits the impact of such activities on the land. I know there are several TreadLightly! Trainers that are members of Maine 4X4 and Midcoast. I myself am the Vice-Pres. of Penobscot Valley 4-Wheel Drive and can state that all of our staff members are TL! Trainers. All of us (the trainers) have direct lines of communication with Steve Salisbury and Keven Cavanaugh, the two TreadLightly! Master Trainers for the State of Maine. As part of holding our Trainer certification, we constantly 'beat the drum' about responsible OHV activities and ethics.
Whew... ok... Finally got that all out. Feels good.
Now to make my own addition to the thread regarding trails!...
NO. I will not share with you our wheeling spots.
"What a punk", you say to yourself! "I just read through all of this Jerk's crap, only to learn he's not going to say a damn thing about trails!"
Well, you're right. Why? Because I don't want YOU to go out and ruin it for ME and all of my friends. If you are interested in OHV activities here in Maine, join an organization that knows legitimate areas to recreate. Join an organization that is trained in how to properly respect the land we have all grown up loving, moved here because we love or visit here because we want to learn to love it more.
I'm sorry to take such a strong-arm approach to this, and if the shoe was on the other foot (as it was for me about two years ago!) I'd be ticked off! I wanna know where I can go wheel! Well join a club. Get involved. Spend a Saturday up to your elbows cleaning up shingles, used baby's diapers, used kitty litter or covered in mud rebuilding a road to learn the reason why WE don't want YOU to know where we wheel.
There's the alternative of visiting Rocky Mountain Terrain Park (RMTP: Maine's Premier Off Road Terrain Park
) or All Wheels (Don Arel (HOME IS WHERE THE MUD IS) on Myspace
) There is a small fee to get in and camp or wheel. The owner of the respective properties will brief you on the rules of the land when you get there and then either offer a guided tour or set you free on your own.
As for clubs, there's:
Maine 4x4 (www.maine4x4.org
Penobscot Valley 4-Wheel Drive (www.pv4wd.com
Midcoast Jeep N ORV (www.midcoast.org
Western Maine Mountain Jeepers (www.jeepmaine.com
I'm sure there's a few others that I'm forgetting.
All of the clubs I listed here have members who are TreadLightly! Trainers and/or members and are responsible organizations that believe in proper OHV ethics and responsible outdoor recreating. I will personally vouch for and back them up on their actions as I know they know their stuff. I actually went to the training class with a few of them and know some of the others personally!
If anyone is interested in being part of a TreadLightly! training class, contact myself or CheapJ, on this site or speak with the administrators on any of the listed sites and we can get you in touch with the right people to have a training class in your area.
As with most all Mainers... we stick together to protect our home and what is ours.... but if you are open with us about your intentions and let us guide you in the right direction, you'll find some very fast and loyal friends. For the folks who are "From Away", we know you love to visit, but remember... after you go home, we're still here cleaning up the messes you leave. Please respect our land and let us give you a tour, don't just let yourself in and go rummaging through our home!