Game Wardens are seeking the public’s help in identifying snowmobile riders in Readfield who are ignoring trail markers and raising the ire of local property owners.

“It seems to be magnified more this year,” said David Buker, president of the Readfield Blizzard Busters snowmobile club. “It’s an ongoing issue with what I believe are young people’s disrespect for landowners.”

The most recent issue dates back about 10 days when a landowner off Walker Road contacted authorities to report snowmobilers riding off the marked trail, which riders use to go to Vienna and Mount Vernon.

“They went around her property and scared her training dogs,” said Game Warden Steve Allarie. “It really upset her because that’s her business.”

The Blizzard Busters, in hopes of easing the landowner’s anger and eliminating future problems, decided to close the trail for this season. Club members posted the trail and put up tape announcing the closure. The club closed the trail behind Maranacook Community High School where there is an intersection and an alternate trail to Vienna and Mount Vernon.

“It was not hours before the signs were ripped down,” Allarie said.

Buker said the club has even tried blocking the trail with lumber spread between the trees.

“We have some places where they’re going out around that into the bushes,” Buker said.

The Walker Road landowner called authorities again on Saturday when another snowmobile veered off the trail and rode around her property. There were other instances of the same behavior throughout the week, Allarie said. The only description he has is that the driver is believed to be a male and is riding a newer model Arctic Cat.

“The hard part is, (Saturday) they had several people trespass and they took the barriers down,” Allarie said. “One person ruins it for everyone.”

Allarie was headed to the trail Sunday to put up more markers and barriers and perhaps a game camera to capture an image of the offenders.

Sean Keegan, whose land abuts the Walker Road property, said there have been a number of instances of riders leaving the marked trail on his property. Keegan said he also has noticed a number of exceptionally loud machines and riders even jumping the road.

“People have been coming way off the trail,” he said.

He said the problem seems to be worse this year.

“It’s just because it’s such a good year for snow,” he said. “There are a lot more people out trying to enjoy it.”

On one occasion Keegan was outside with his children, and a group of riders left the trail and came into his family’s area.

“They were three snowmobiles wide and jumping over drifts,” Keegan said.

Keegan called Game Wardens after that incident, but he said he is so far unwilling to close off the trail over his property. He said the club has spent considerable money building the trail, including a bridge across a stream, and that most of the riders are respectful. Keegan said he even goes so far as to remove gates in the winter to make room for the riders.

“I know people enjoy it and it’s such a good spot,” he said. “I hope my family gets to use it sometime. If everybody would be respectful, it wouldn’t be a problem.”

Buker agrees.

“They seem to be young people who have very little respect for authority,” he said. “I think it’s a symptom of society more than it’s a symptom of snowmobiling.”

Allarie asked anyone who can provide a description of the riders or their machines to call Game Wardens or police. Allarie is particularly hopeful someone will provide the six-digit registration numbers on the snowmobiles. He said anyone with information can call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-ALERT-US (253-7887) or make an anonymous report online at maineogt.org. Reports also can be made to State Police dispatchers at 624-7076.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4


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