Last week we asked the Can-Am riding community what everyone is doing to make their area more rider friendly. The Lisbon Hardcore Riders ATV Club in Maine told us they’re doing everything they can to make sure their backyard is rider friendly. Read on to see what they’re doing to keep riding alive in their area.
Can-Am: Tell us about your riding club and how it got started.
Lisbon Hardcore Riders ATV Club: We have all been friends for years; we actually all used to snowmobile together before the ATV clubs and Maine started to organize. Every winter we would see ATV trail signs popping up, so in the spring and summer we would all get together and ride the trails we found the previous winter. Back then all areas could be ridden, whether it was a marked trail or not. We started using the Internet to find different clubs, and most of them would send us their club maps, so we started exploring. We now get together every other weekend and usually do at least a 140-mile ride. We also take other ATV club members out with us so they can get a feel for the trails and take their own clubs out on these particular trail systems.
Lisbon Hardcore Riders ATV Club: We are located in Lisbon Falls, Maine. Most of our rides are in the western mountains of Maine. They offer everything from old logging roads to headlight deep mud to mountain terrain at 3000 feet above sea level. One of our favorite places to ride is scenic Jackman, Maine, which has been featured in several ATV magazines over the past few years. We make a point to never ride the same trail twice in a season. We have all our trails on a GPS program, so we can comfortably ride and not worry about losing our way.
Lisbon Hardcore Riders ATV Club: When we are out riding, we always find trash on the trail, so of course we stop and pick it up. We live by the motto: “carry out what you carry in.” We remove trees from the trails and always fix downed signs. We carry safety tape with us, so if there are washouts we mark the trail on both sides so no one will get hurt.
Can-Am: Why do you think it’s important to improve your local riding community?
Lisbon Hardcore Riders ATV Club: The number one reason is that 95% of trails in Maine are privately owned, so you have to keep the landowners happy or they will close the trails. The second reason is that a lot of the towns that the trails run through depend on the revenue from ATVers and snowmobilers to keep their economy going.
Can-Am: What can other riders do in their own local communities to help out?
Lisbon Hardcore Riders ATV Club: Support their local clubs, join a local club, or volunteer for trail work. Even if you aren’t a member, use common sense and stay on marked trails. Stop and pick up trash on the trail. Donate a few bucks if you see a club jar in the stores. We are involved with Toys for Tots every year where we donate toys for less fortunate kids. We would like to see all ATV riders donate toys for this cause.
Can-Am: Are you working with local government to make the laws in your area more rider-friendly?
Lisbon Hardcore Riders ATV Club: We do support our local government here. The government is involved in creating ATV laws, but because 95% of the trails are privately owned, the landowners and the local clubs govern most the ATV trails. ATVmaine.org is also a big part of our trail system.
Can-Am: Do you feel your local and state governments support your riding community?
Lisbon Hardcore Riders ATV Club: It depends on which part of Maine you’re riding in. The local governments in southern Maine are not as supportive as the ones in northern Maine. Up North, they realize how much some of these small towns really need to share in the dollars. As a result, they are very organized with road access so riders can get in to these towns for gas and food, park and rides, etc. In southern Maine the people aren’t as ATV friendly, but some towns are figuring out they are losing money by not having any ATV access, so things are improving.
Lisbon Hardcore Riders ATV Club: We have had a lot of different things happen; the oddest is that we “adopt” a lot of other riders. It usually starts with them asking us for directions. Then when they see the GPS, they ask if they can ride with us, and of course we believe the more the merrier!
Last time we were in the mountains we came around a corner and saw a bunch of crows attacking something. The crows scattered and this big brown bird came staggering out. We thought it was a vulture. It struggled to fly, and I sped up and caught up to it. It could barely fly five feet off the ground. It flew about another 100 feet and then crashed into the trail. I then saw it was a golden eagle. It was like it knew we would protect it. For about ten minutes it sat there next to us resting while the crows circled us. You could see its wing was injured from the attack. After it rested, it finally was able to take off and fly away. We like to think we saved this beautiful eagle’s life; it was very gratifying.