The entrance on Temple Road on Tuesday, May 2. Residents of Temple Road appeared before the select board to share frustration over the ATVs that come through making noise and causing a high amount of traffic. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

WILTON — Several Wilton residents from Temple Road took to the Wilton Select Board on Tuesday, May 2, to offer their complaints regarding the ATV access road that was approved more than a year ago.

The complaints ranged from noise to a sharp increase in traffic to even several riders disobeying speed and safety standards.

“You’ve turned it into a freeway,” one resident stated. “It’s ridiculous.”

Temple Road resident Richard Corey added to this, stating that before the ATV access road was approved, there was already a high amount of traffic that frequented the road.

“Temple Road, as you folks well know, is one of the highest traffic roads in Wilton,” Corey said. “So, adding this ATV access road has increased an already busy road.”

“The quality of life has not been the same,” he added.


Corey went on to state that he had observed ATV operators travelling in large groups, further increasing the level of noise, and he and other neighbors have observed minors riding alone without helmets, which is a violation.

“I have to pause if I’m watching TV until they go by, and you can start hearing them way down the road and it’s just incredible,” he stated.

Corey also stated there was an incident where several ATVs were traveling as late as 10 p.m. at night. Another resident stated that several ATVs were seen doing donuts in her driveway.

The ATV access road was brought to the Wilton Select Board in February of 2021 when The Western Maine ATV Club had submitted a request for the state’s approval of a two-mile, all-terrain vehicle route to go through downtown Wilton.

By March 2021, support for the access road had increased with then-Sergeant Ethan Kyes providing a report on the proposed access trail that included feedback from residents, business owners and nearby towns that also have ATV access.

“A lot of people were for the idea of the access route. Overwhelmingly, about 75% was for the access route,” Kyes stated regarding a Facebook post with over 240 comments.


This was followed by a request from Temple Trail Riders in October 2021, where Martha Eastman, who presented the application on behalf of Temple Trail Riders, said ATV operators have been looking for trails that provide access to food and gas. Whereas the trails through Temple are lacking in those things, “in Wilton there’s more to offer.”

The ATV access road was approved initially in October 2021, but that approval was pending a decision from the Department of Transportation for a portion on Main Street that required ATV operators to cross the street. Official approval came in April 2022, with stipulations that, according to the residents of Temple Road at the May 2 meeting, have been violated frequently.

Since the approval, complaints about the high traffic and noise have been heard as recently as December, with Michael Hoehne of Wilton having appeared before the Select Board to make his complaint. Hoehne was among the group of residents that was present at the May 2 meeting.

“What is it benefiting Wilton?” Corey asked the board. He asserted that most ATV operators using the access road are not residents and therefore do not have a vested interest in the town of Wilton.

“There’s no benefit for our average Wilton residents,” Corey asserted.

Shelly Gervais, owner of Shelly’s Hometown Market, stated that she is “all for the access road” and the access has had a significant impact for her business. “They are no louder than a car or a motorcycle,” she said. “Business has been great.”


Selectperson Mike Wells sympathized with the residents and brought up ideas such as re-routing the trail away from the road, or designating an area for ATV operators to park their trailers to access the trail without having to drive through Temple Road.

“I just think it needs to be addressed with [Temple Trail Riders],” Wells stated, “and maybe give them six months to find an alternative, and then shut down the access.”

President Robert Dalot of Western Maine ATV club was also present at the meeting and stated that there is a possibility that once the novelty of a new access road wears off, they could see a decline in traffic.

“My suggestion is talk to the [Temple Trail Riders], see if they can come up with an alternative,” Dalot stated.

The board elected not to make a decision until they have further discussion with Temple Trail Riders over potential solutions. The board expects to continue the discussion at their next meeting on May 16.

Comments are no longer available on this story