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One bad apple perception and fact.

  1. Jan 9, 2010 #1

    turbo

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    I have a snowmobile trail on the western boundary of my property. It is a heavily traveled spur of the ITS, and I allow the local snowmobile club to use my property for that purpose. They trim trees, bush-hog the trail, etc, but there is no expense to them for the use of my property.

    I like to walk Duke on that trail because it's safer than the back-road running through here, with all the log-trucks, etc. When we encounter snowmobilers, I get Duke well to the other side of the trail, and they stay well on their side, slow down, and usually wave and smile as they pass. Today, however, one snowmobiler stuck mostly to the center of the trail and barreled by at a high rate of speed, and the only acknowledgement he gave me was a glare, as if I shouldn't have been there. In contrast, the fellow following him showed down, kept to his side of the trail and waved as he passed. Common sense and common courtesy.

    The fact is that most of the people using this trail are pretty nice and friendly, but a few more jerks like the one that barreled through here today would prompt me to shut the gate and lock it, depriving the club of 1/2 mile of trail that they could not possibly replace without a lot of work and expense, and negotiating with other land-owners. The club posts nice signs saying "Landowners Share. We must Care.", but the sentiment seems lost on some that think that pedestrians, pets, and skiers should stay off "their" trails.

    Sorry for the venting, but my sentiment after encountering the jerk this morning was to shut the gate. Why? To punish the decent people for the acts of a jerk? How often do we place undue restrictions on the majority in reaction to the acts of a minority?

    I intend to write a letter to the local paper hoping to make people understand that almost all of the snowmobile trails in this state are on privately-owned land, and that land-owners and their guests have the right to use that property, even if it is groomed and marked as a snowmobile trail. I don't know if it will do any good, but I have to try.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
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  3. Jan 9, 2010 #2

    Evo

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    Can you describe him to the snowmobile club and maybe they can figure out who it is and let them know that their actions might cause them to lose access?
     
  4. Jan 9, 2010 #3

    turbo

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    Won't work, unfortunately. Until recently, snowmobiles had to have large registration numbers on them (3" minimum, I think), but the state has gone to requiring only the display of a small numbered registration tag. Description: A guy riding the most popular "hot" snow-machine, and wearing a like-branded snowmobile suit and helmet. That would only cover 10-20% of the riders.
     
  5. Jan 9, 2010 #4
    I have the same thing happening with my northern property. I use to let snowmobile's cross over to get to state land. It is only about a 35 foot stretch, which saved them about 1/2 mile of driving on the side of the main road.

    About 2 years ago, my very nice neighbor, got sued. Some one went off the trail and crashed into a tree on his property. He lost, the judge said, once you assume{permit} anyone will use it, you personally are responsible to up keep and marking the trails.
    I closed my land off right after that.
     
  6. Jan 9, 2010 #5

    Evo

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    Carry a large sign saying "this is my property, act respectful or lose access".

    Unfortunately there isn't much else you can do. Even hitting the guy with a paintball would qualify as assault, unfortunately.
     
  7. Jan 9, 2010 #6

    turbo

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    Too bad. We have a more enlightened system here, though it's convoluted. The Department of Conservation allots money to local snowmobile clubs so they can maintain the trails. Snowmobiling is very popular and brings in money from tourism, so it is a revenue-positive endeavor. The clubs assess dues on their members and hold fund-raisers to maintain their club-houses and buy grooming equipment. Land-owners allow the clubs to establish and maintain trails on their properties, and the clubs are responsible for grooming and marking trails, NOT the land-owners.

    A couple of years back some very well-lubricated guys showed up at my front door at 10pm asking where they were. I gave them directions, and the next day, I called the trail-master for the local club and told him to put informational signs on the trails because if some drunks started hammering on the door when my wife was here alone, I would gate off the trail permanently. Informational signs appeared quite promptly. Fortunately, the rudeness and carelessness I experienced today is a rare thing. If I could have ID'd the rider, I would have called the Maine Warden Service so the guy would get a citation. That is not possible, anymore, due to the tiny registration tags, so unless a warden caught him in the act, he's off the hook.
     
  8. Jan 9, 2010 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    I would contact the snowmobile club president, not to ask for help in identifying the jerk, but to point out what happened, that you'd like to keep the trail open for them but that the behavior of some snowmobilers is making it difficult. Get him on your side, and get him to get his members in line.
     
  9. Jan 9, 2010 #8
    Wow, some people have just been brought up horribly. I hope when I have kids one day they never treat people without respect. Even if this wasn't on your property and you were walking your dog I would still say that this mans actions were extremely disrespectful. It makes it 10x worse that it was on your own property that you allow him and others to use for their convenience.

    If I were you I would either contact the club or close the gate so that the club contacts you. Then you should explain to them the situation that occurs with some of the jerks that use the trail and explain that you'd only re-allow their use of the trail if they all agree to being respectful on the trail.

    I also think that this situation could have been quite dangerous, and not just disrespectful. Are there no laws regarding snowmobiles in your location? I know when I go to new brunswick there are plenty of laws that are in place to protect pedestrians. Just imagine you had slipped or lost your footing in the snow, this guy would probably not be far enough away from you or going slow enough and a severe accident could have occured. I've seen more than my share of accidents on ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles but to include in the risk of accident a pedestrian or his canine friend? Just rediculous.
     
  10. Jan 9, 2010 #9

    turbo

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    I will probably get him and the trail-master over here for a little tete-a-tete. They are both great guys. The problem is that although they are tasked with marking and grooming the trails, anybody with a properly-registered snow machine can use the trails, and the clubs have absolutely no authority over the riders. The Maine Warden Service is stretched pretty thin, so it's unlikely that I would be able to get any help from them, and they are the only law-enforcement agency that can prosecute reckless behavior on the part of people operating snowmobiles, ATVs, etc.
     
  11. Jan 9, 2010 #10

    turbo

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    True. Duke is obedient, but he is an extremely powerful dog, and even though I grab his leash and restrain him at the opposite side of the trail, he could possibly put himself or me in the path of a snowmobile. He is quite curious and gregarious, and impulsive, and he acts all excited when groups of snowmobilers pass us - ears up, tail wagging like crazy...
     
  12. Jan 9, 2010 #11

    cronxeh

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    So.. your ego was bruised and your dog is not well-trained. I get that it is more of a safety issue for you, but when you allowed them access you knew this might happen. Do you restrict them access for fear of liability and be seen as groggy, or do you go all liberal on them and just shrug it off? If you were not on that trail at that particular time today, how would that affect your motivation?
     
  13. Jan 9, 2010 #12
    So, you were recently snowmobiling in Maine?
     
  14. Jan 9, 2010 #13
    I was also going to say that. :rofl:
     
  15. Jan 9, 2010 #14
    LOL.

    @cronxeh.

    I have to disagree with what you are saying here... there ARE laws in place to protect pedestrians and this snowmobiler clearly showed no regard for them, safety, or respect for others. There is no way in my mind that you can justify his actions, regardless of if it's turbos 'fault' for allowing them to use the trail... they have to show this regard for safety, and respect for other people and the law anywhere they go. It just is worse that this happened on turbos private property that he allows them to use for their convenience.
     
  16. Jan 9, 2010 #15
    so, turbo, are you going to close your section of the trail down for a while?


    I just remembered I and my friend were the first people in the state of Minnesota to get a traffic violation for using a motor vehicle, specifically a snowmobile, on the road (we were crossing the road to get to an open field) for being unlicensed.

    That was in 1965, and about a month later, if I remember right, the state law was changed.
     
  17. Jan 9, 2010 #16

    turbo

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    I don't think so. That's kind of extreme. I'll get Joe and Ken to drop in for a chat, and we'll discuss possibilities. A couple of years back, I had hordes of AVT-riders showing up on my property (they are NOT supposed to use snowmobile trails), and some of them were pretty aggressive and actually demanded that I open the gate and let them through. The trail is steep on this end and much steeper on the other end, with a pristine brook running through the hollow, and spring-holes on both slopes. 4-wheelers would tear up that trail in no time, silt the brook and kill the frogs, fish, etc. Joe and Ken gated the section of trail that feeds to my place, to keep ATVs out of here.

    Joe runs a motel/cottage business that caters to ATV-riders, but the very last thing that he wants is to start causing problems with land-owners or causing problems with the Conservation Department, which funds ATV trail maintenance. One of his clients rode into the pit of a good friend of mine and smashed the windshield of his front-end-loader. Joe not only kicked him out immediately, but banned him and his friends from ever coming back. Snowmobiles and ATVs bring a lot of money to our area, and it is important to tamp down rowdy, disrespectful, destructive behavior, so that the recreational activities blend with our way of life.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  18. Jan 9, 2010 #17

    cronxeh

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    I can't get a break with this guy.. first he wont open gates for my ATV now he is standing in the way of my snowmobile :devil:
     
  19. Jan 9, 2010 #18
    I think I would POST a sign like that at both entrances to your property. ---'...respectfully and responsibly...'


    edit:


    "...or your snowmobile will be confiscated"
     
  20. Jan 11, 2010 #19

    Dembadon

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    I don't see how his ego has anything to do with the situation. Should disrespectful behavior go unchecked? Should people exhibiting childish, unappreciative attitudes be allowed to take advantage of one's generosity?

    Just because there is a possibility for this type of behavior doesn't mean one has to put up with it when it occurs.

    Turbo lets people use his property so that they can enjoy themselves. Isn't it logical to remove access when such a privilege is abused?
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  21. Jan 11, 2010 #20

    turbo

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    The law requires snowmobile riders to operate to the right of the trail when their view of the trail is obstructed or when pedestrians, skiers, etc are present. In addition, it is illegal to operate a snowmobile at a high rate of speed when approaching pedestrians, skiers and others. The guy that I was so mad at stayed to the center of the trail and did not slow down a bit. There is no need of that kind of behavior. It's not just disrespectful - it's illegal.

    Almost all snowmobile operators move over to the right-hand side of the trail, slow down to a reasonable speed, and nod and wave as they go by. The first two are required by law, and the latter two are simple respect and politeness.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
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