Trail Use Guidelines
We hope that you will visit all four of our trails. If you do so, please keep the following in mind:
- Feel free to travel on foot, snowshoe, or cross-country skis. No motorized vehicles allowed.
- Trails are open from dawn to dusk.
- Leashed dogs are welcome on the trails.
- Carry out what you carry in, including pet waste.
- Remember to check for ticks!
Why No Motorized Travel?
Motorized travel is not permitted on the Wells Conservation Lands for two major reasons. One, it is against the law, and two, it can harm the natural areas that the Town is trying to protect. Motorized vehicles can also disturb the wildlife and the people trying to enjoy the areas.
It is State of Maine law that no one shall ride an ATV (or other motorized vehicles) on another person’s property without written permission. The penalty for doing so is suspension of any licenses, registrations and permits for at least 90 days. If damage occurs on a person’s property while operating an ATV that person has committed a Class E crime that can be associated with various fines (Maine IFW 2009). For more information about where ATVs can legally be used please contact the State of Maine ATV Program at 207-287-4957 or on the ATV Program page of the State of Maine’s website.
The other reason that motorized vehicles are not allowed in the wildlife commons is because they can damage the lands that they use for recreation by damaging preexisting trails and by creating new trails (as stated by the Sierra Club). This can be especially damaging on seasonally wet trails. The tires of motorized vehicles often have deep tread that can widen an already created trail. Widening of a trail can lead to erosion that can cause sediment to run off into wetlands. Oftentimes, motorized vehicle riders get tired of their premade trails and decide to make their own. When motorized vehicle riders make their own trails, they fragment the habitat of the conservation lands by making wide un-vegetated paths.
Another reason for prohibiting motorized vehicles from the conservation areas in Wells is because they present the risk of introducing invasive species. Since many motorized vehicle users do not always stay on designated trails, they can easily pick up plant species and carry them to the next area they ride in.
Most people visit the conservation lands in Wells to see the wildlife and take in the beauty of large areas of undeveloped land. Motorized vehicles are loud and can disturb the wildlife, making it hard to spot any of the many species that inhabit the commons. The noise can also be disruptive to people who enjoy the quiet of the wildlife commons.
Snowmobile clubs are welcome to contact the Town of Wells to work out a partnership for the club members to cross conservation lands in the Town. Please dial 207-646-5113 and leave a message with the Town Manager’s secretary.