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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes, it's me again .... Mr. Insufferable with another complaint about stupid people who cannot read and insist that trail riding is not fun unless THEY get to go 'off trail' because ..... well, they CAN. And now folks, here are the results:

Rumford Polar Bears Snowmobile Club
March 5 at 9:47 PM ·
We're sorry to report that a couple of off-trail riders this morning put Trail 12 in jeopardy. The off-trail riders spooked horses in a pasture owned by landowners in Rumford Center. One of the horses suffered an injury that required medical attention. Needless to say, the landowners are very upset.
We met with the landowners this afternoon and they asked us to move the trail out of the field where their horses are quartered. We offered to pay for veterinary expenses. They thanked us for the offer, but said they would pay the expense themselves. We offered to close the trail right away, but since the season is almost over, they’re graciously allowing us to keep the trail open for the rest of the season. They said they didn’t want a couple of irresponsible riders to ruin it for everybody else. They asked us to spread the word that riders must stay on the marked trail. The trail is well marked and there is no excuse for
for this behavior. (See the trail signage below.)
Next year we’ll have to relocate the trail to a woodlot owned by these same landowners. They are happy and willing to work with us. It won’t be easy or cheap. We’ll have to clear and excavate a logging trail and build a long bridge across a medium sized stream.
One of the off-trail riders was on a red sled. The other rider was on a yellow sled. It would go a long way if one or both of these riders met with the landowners to apologize. A few years back we had an off-trail incident that involved an unknown sledder going through a cultivated raspberry patch. The rider stepped forward and apologized to the landowner and it made a world of difference.





 

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That sucks! I’m surprised to hear the land owners were so gracious and did not shut the trail down immediately. I couldn’t blame them if they had. Sucks their horse was injured. This is going to cost a lot of time and money to move the trail from the sounds of it. Bad news all around
 

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How do we as sledders (responsible sledders) help to deter this kind of wrong-headed narrcisstic action? Not rhetorical. I'm looking for suggestions.

It seems the remedies are always to apologize, put up signs, try "diplomacy" etc. But none of those things are pre-emptive.

Last weekend we observed so many rude, careless, and irresponsible riders.
And that was in a restaurant parking lot. (Not in ME)
Same people came in to an eatery, loud, rude to staff, selfish entitled a-holes. I apologized to the manager for their behavior.

And these weren't kids. They were adults. And as I quietly asked a couple of folks to at least "shut the door" as they filed in with no regard for anyone or anybody but themselves, for a woman like me it is very difficult not to be vocal.

Now, I know many people do not say anything to these kinds of people. And that's a big mistake.

If someone goes through their life never hearing what others think about their negative actions they will never ever learn.
I'm of the firm opinion that not speaking up is just as bad.

I'm not a "self appointed sheriff" but damn it enough is enough.

I've been snowmobiling since age 5. And I cannot stomach this any longer. It's wrong. It hurts our sport. It's putting a black mark on our sport.

My old man and I do not hesitate to say something anymore. I'll handle the consequences. That is my choice. But it's past time for us to do something.

I've eliminated these types of riders from my "circle". And I've told them why. I do not need or want friends who ruin it for everyone else.

The place I referred to is a VT "hot spot" and I really feel bad for the folks in that town who have to put up with it. And the reason I rarely ride that area.

What do you folks suggest? How do you handle this? The club's have enough on their plates ffs. In VT it's all volunteers. God bless each and every one of them. Thankless job if you ask me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Rodeo Rider.... well, when I posted about irresponsible riders who chew up the trails (yes I pointed out long trackers) with the wrong type of machine and people who speed and are on the wrong side of the trail, etc. I was told I was insufferable (thus the moniker in the opening post in the thread) for 'seeing' all these things that people are doing that is detrimental to the sport.

I'm like you. I can't just look the other way. However, you take your life in your hands when you confront people about their negative actions. They really do feel entitled and do not want to be 'corrected' even if those actions put me and you in the path of danger (like riding too fast for the trail conditions or on the wrong side of the trail).
 

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I know. Suffice it to say I am fully aware of the backlash. And in person I have a different way of approaching this with people.

It's not enough anymore to look the other way. I do have some ideas, I'll only share them in a pm.

I grew up with horses, reading that got under my skin. These places where we snowmobile...are farms, rural. These folks work damn hard. And don't deserve this.

It's time for us to work with each other, clubs, etc and create a way to "police" our trails. I'm not talking about bothering folks just out for a ride. I'm referring to the instances where we see these transgressions happen right in front of us.

Now I've had experience dealing with tricky situations. And along with my H together we've addressed (in real time) with the "offending party".

What's the downside? Well I know what that is. But someone has to step up to bat and swing.

I'm not a busy body. I mean to say when I'm out riding I am not getting into someone's face and harassing them.

But every time we see this happen...and we don't speak up is just as bad. I'm a hard yes on that one and no one can convince me otherwise.

If we keep going the way we are, our access and quantity of "rideable areas" will dwindle yet more. And that means more riders in smaller areas. Look at Vermont; snow hits, the deluge of people wanting to get out is "centralized", I saw hundreds of sleds in the NEK last weekend. Literally.

So either we figure this one out, have a plan, or we are going to lose more rideable areas every season.

I know how I come off sometimes, but damn it it's bad out there. And I for one hate feeling like I'm going to get killed or someone I love for that matter because of someone's selfishness and immaturity.

Some think destruction of property, beating on their sled to the point of failure is "Hard Core". And that makes me plenty irritated. It is not Hardcore to be a jerk.
 

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I feel your pain RR. As with most activities there are always a group of knuckleheads that ruin it for everyone (boating comes to mind. Jet skis...don't get me started.). Lord knows I have known many of them in my life and most of them met untimely ends. I think part of the problem is that these clowns never get educated on the rules of the road. They just buy a sled, get a sticker and off they go without a clue on how to operate the damn thing and this goes on for years. They don't take the time to learn and do research and the dealers and state don't provide any info at all. Just "show me the money" and you're good to go.
 

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if we were All to be 100% honest and truthful
I would gather some of of KNOW the people that go off trail, YET we DON"T turn them in, due to there either friends, family or worried about being the BAD guy
and we all HOPE that they maybe get caught some other way, just WE don't want to be the PERSON that tells on them.
this is LIFE, IMO
like it or not a LOT of most likely broke rules growing up, we tested the water so to speak and cut corners
we played in the grey area!
some of us call it being young and dumb, and if honest I gather a LOT of us fall into this category
all the more so the older folks here,
as "BACK in the DAY" lets call it, times were different
drinking and driving was something MOST older people did, movies made it look common place cause it was, trespassing wasn't really a THING in most places, as Lawyers didn;t get into finding profits there till the later 80's!

MANY of these folks from this ERA, grew up telling stories or again DOING things in the grey area, and as they got older they DIDN"T STOP doing them many of these folks went on to have kids and TAUGHT them kids to DO the same things they did/do!
I see it all the time when I catch folks trespassing, when I had my business I used to hear folks BRAGGING about there miss deeds, as if it was all JUST IN FUN< making it OK to so!

they haven;'t caught on that times have changed, they NEVER see what they do a a real problem
they again feels it NOT REALLY a big deal
and since NO one about them really corrects them or turns them in, they continue to do these things!

I am not condoning this, I am just explaining it as I see how it happens!

I don't know how to change things other than, when CAUGHT< folks need to follow up on what charges they can,
as IMO< nothing changes a person more than effecting there wallet!
I doubt anyone will start turning in there friends or family when they do this
but I DO< see SOME changes as generations of those that do this pass on,
it just takes time
sadly land owners don't want to wait and I fully understand there side
best we can do there maybe is have more OFF seasons chats with them, about what can we do IF it happens so NOT to loose them
as that is about all I think is option here
will never have it 100% idiot free, will always be a bad apple or two!
 

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I think most of these fools probably grew up in a generation where everyone got a trophy and there were no consequences for bad deeds even when their parents caught them. They continue to have no respect for rules and behavior to this day as "adults". I don't know how it can be addressed effectively unless LEO catches them and then the penalties need to be stiff. Like sled impounding stiff.
 

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Mrbb I agree. Hell I did my share of dumb shit. On a sled. But trespass? NO. Hurt animals or cause harm to them or the farm? NO.

Run folks off the trail? NO.

Ride off trail where it is clearly marked not to? NO.

Put my family and friends in jeopardy? HECK NO.

Do I like to ride hard and fast? You betcha. But...I know my limits and my ability and I ride within them.

I had guys almost hit me all damn weekend. Yes GUYS. I hate riding weekends. I'm over as far as I can to the right of the trail. And this means I slow way down on the twisties to avoid those that ride with their "little head".

My husband leads almost 100% of the time and I'll tell you what, if he gets hit because of the irresponsibility of another rider I will...never mind. Use your imagination. I may be an old lady, but they better hope not to cross paths with me if they do.

I apologize for venting but clearly many feel the same way as I do and maybe don't vocalize it.
 
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well I again say this, not sure of your age
but I gather if you rode motorcycles, dirt bikes off road, as a KID< I almost BET like ME< so not throwing stones
odds are we trespassed to ride, as I know I never asked every land owner, that owned the lands I rode on
it was just something that FEW folks did
we took for granted it was OK, if there was a dirt road there
as a KID< and getting on snowmobiles, it was about the same thing,as there were NO trails for sleds, we rode the same places we rode our dirt bike
as time passed and trails opened, the same deal was applied only we BOUGHT trail passes
but the lands we rode on, we basically rode places either we seen tracks or IF any trails were marked, there were NO maps
NO one really had a clue who owned the land
we just rode
we rode in fields as WILL more or less
we found yourself running over trash(as folks dumped trash in the woods back then or where ever they felt like it)
we found barb wire the hard way
SO< did I trespass
YEAH, as again, that was JUST the way it was,
again NOT defending anyone trespassing, (as a fact I spent a LOT my of money and time stooping folks that do this the past 20+ yrs_)
MY point is, again, MANY of use odds are did many things that get trails closed today
its just were now older and seen our ways back then were wrong
BUT there are still many that DON"T feel there wrong NOT knowing where there riding, they still feel they can do what they want cause they feel its there right to do so
just saying this is why many do this IMO
its 100% wrong
but its also many times generations deep and its HARD to change these folks
and again, odds are many GOOD riders know darn well who these folks are, yet DON"T want to be the person that turns them in, for what ever there reasons, its not like its some huge secret NON one know WHO does it IMO!
 

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Paragraphs Mrbb please ;)
I got my first dirt bike at 5. Now way back then (I was born in 1960) my town had a population of maybe 500-700 people. And was dominated by farms.

I believe there were around 30 or 40 back then. We had a good size farm, adjoined by other farms, and all us kids rode everywhere.

I drove on the road a ways to get to my grandmother's house, and obviously I did not have "permission" at that age to do so LOL

But being a farm kid you learned how to drive everything as soon as you could reach the pedals. I started driving cars and trucks And the farm equipment around 8-9 years old. And back then, in an agricultural town that was the norm. I know you're aware of that.

It's one thing to be a "kid" and do those things and another completely to tresspass as an adult, on a snowmobile, going into areas clearly marked as off limits. I'm not splitting hairs here.

Kids will be kids. It's another matter entirely when you're old enough and should know better.

I cop kids a lot of slack. My own young'in's do ride their quads around my home. I'm fortunate that my property borders deep woods and farm fields and you betcha we have permission.

Before the subdivision across from my house (on a rural route actually) we could snowmobile all over. With permission. I admit that we do traverse roads. Or we used to. Heck we have friends in LE that asked us long ago to "rescue" folks during heavy snow storms that went off the road.

I'm sorry I get worked up about this. I'm someone who can feel the stress that's put upon the land owners who graciously allow us access.
 
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I confronted a group of trespassers one time on the trail and almost got my ass beat by six guys (not kids, but adults). The only thing that saved me from an ass whooping was the fact that my two sons and their two friends turned back around. Thank goodness they are all 6'4" plus.

I took photos of some of their registration numbers and turned them over to a DNR Officer later in the day. His response was "what do expect me to do about it" He went on to say that unless he witnessed it there would be no follow up. I asked why he wasn't patrolling these areas instead of sitting at busy intersections writing tickets for rolling stop signs in order to generate more revenue and hassle decent snowmobilers.

I was told to be on my way.

Don~
 

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RR,
again I agree with you, trust me trespassing is something I take rather seriously,a s over the years I have caught hundreds of folks trespassing on lands I own or managed.
I was just pointing out the reasons many trespass based on what I have seen , heard and
learned from catching all of them
and I have caught folks of all ages, and with back grounds in places and fields they SHOULD know better( I have caught many folks in law
enforcement as an example)
BUT I have caught dozens of parents with there kids, grand parents with there grand kids and KID< making 32 generations at
once trespassing
and all
would argue with me its NOT a big deal, been doing it all my life and BLAH BLAH BLAH!~
defending there actions

I was pointing this out cause again, I personally feel folks that trespass have been TAUGHT to by parents or likes' and to them , trespassing sign,s STAY ON TRAIL signs, and so on, don;t mean anything to these folks, they truly feel and believe there meant for someone else or, that there just there for NO real reason!
and to make matters worse , in many states, the laws for trespassing are SO weak, , that EVEN if they get caught odds are they KNOW< they will not get much if anything in punishment, heck many times it ends up costing the land owner more money to take them through the legal process, than the fine is they get for breaking the law!

the deterrent really isn;t there to stop these folks and its IMO< why many TEACH there kids its OK to do so! they never got any real troubles or fines, so, WHY not keep going!
I am 100% NOT defending these folks by any means, I am just explaining WHY many do so! based on years of catching trespassers hearing there reasons when caught and , the experiences I have process of taking them to court!
until fines and laws get better, I don't feel personally there will ever be all that big a change in stopping these minded like folks!
best we can do is follow up on them we catch, and honestly work with the land owners to understand, what were up against and how can we keep them willing to keep there lands open!
Most land owners feel insulted when these things happen and it seems like FEW care, Most land owners I know, would be way
more open to things , if folks treated them better in the GOOD times and not just trying to suck up in the bad times, which Is why I also stated, maybe we need to work more with land owners in more ways to show appreciation for them, and not just when it snows!
a lot of times its the little things in life that matter to land owners, all the more so them older generation one's, that are up there in age and , honestly could use a little help now and then on simple things
mowing a lawn, trimming a tree, cleaning up after winter from plowing stones and so on!

Many clubs do TRAIL Work weekends, MAYBE we need to start doing some LAND owner work weekends.
Might go a long way with keeping more land open, showing land owners there are MANY GOOD club members and riders that use there lands and appreciate in more than WORDS! Actions always speak louder than words.


Prime example is, just look at what happens when some idiot goes off trail , it gets a BIG negative reaction, and doesn't take many to make bigger issues!
we will never stop the BAD apple, so, maybe again, better start doing more
of land owners that open up there lands IMO! or there some day won't be trails like we have now
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
mrbb & RR .... I suspect when you say 'you rode everywhere' you really mean within a few miles of your home. I know when I started out in the early 70's that was the case. Ya, there were no trails really. But the reality of the situation has changed dramatically. Now everyone puts there machines on a trailer and drive's up to YOUR place where you live and proceed to act totally irresponsibly and if it causes problems like trail closures or landowner concerns ..... big deal .. they'll just go to the 'next' place. But ..... what happens when there are no more 'next places'? That is what is happening and that is why I'm PO'd at these people. Just in Maine this past year .... there is no more north / south trail through Carrabasett (I know ... not a closure due to off-trail but closed nonetheless) ... Now the one I wrote about above in Rumford. Then there's the guy who blocked a major throughway over a railroad bed in Bingham. The landowners in Quebec are looking to ban longtrack's because they are ruining re-planted trees and overrunning farm fields and ruining groomed trails (of which Quebec FMC pay their operators). They want to limit them to designated powder areas.
 

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mrbb & RR .... I suspect when you say 'you rode everywhere' you really mean within a few miles of your home. I know when I started out in the early 70's that was the case. Ya, there were no trails really. But the reality of the situation has changed dramatically. Now everyone puts there machines on a trailer and drive's up to YOUR place where you live and proceed to act totally irresponsibly and if it causes problems like trail closures or landowner concerns ..... big deal .. they'll just go to the 'next' place. But ..... what happens when there are no more 'next places'? That is what is happening and that is why I'm PO'd at these people. Just in Maine this past year .... there is no more north / south trail through Carrabasett (I know ... not a closure due to off-trail but closed nonetheless) ... Now the one I wrote about above in Rumford. Then there's the guy who blocked a major throughway over a railroad bed in Bingham. The landowners in Quebec are looking to ban longtrack's because they are ruining re-planted trees and overrunning farm fields and ruining groomed trails (of which Quebec FMC pay their operators). They want to limit them to designated powder areas.
I agree with you this happens a lot too,
and these minded folks, seem to have the attitude that if trails close SO what, they will STOP riding there, move on, and if ALL trails close, SO what again, they are NOT true die hards in the sport, that actually care about the sport and its future,
hell I bet most are NOT even club members , and sure most are not members that go and do work , or maybe even club members at all, but then again, people that know the lay of the land the most ???? some times think there above the rules due to they DID A LITTLE WOPRK! and thus feel they deserve something extra for it!

IMO< many of these out of towners they just happen to have cash to buy toys and think the world should cater to them because they have more money than others! OR??

and , I BLAME PARENTS, its something either taught or allowed by spoiling there kids and never teaching them right and wrong and this again can be generations deep!
and where THESE folks never feel there doing anything wrong as they were never taught what is right and or wrong properly!

on the FLIP side of this, you also every YR have the SAME locals that DON"T follow the rules, as they feel due to they LIVE there there entitled to some special freedoms from the rules
due to they have been living there for years , parents did, family did and so on, these are the folks IMO< that have the hardest time dealing with trespassing when land SELL"S, OLD owner maybe was family or friends and let them have free will, and now new owners DON"T and they cannot STOP doing things like they did all there lives.

these folks have always been my biggest number of trespassers I catch each yr,., and you wouldn;t believe how many of these folks when caught will claim to HAVE permission, or better yet they like to tell me they OWN the land I am kicking them off of!
as i said we will never STOP all the idiots 100%< better time might be spent trying to work better with land owners! IMO!
 

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I've been involved in our PSSA (Pennsylvania State Snowmobile Association) for heading on 20 years. I was on the executive board for 10 of them. We saw lots of problems with snowmobiling and trails being lost. After all that I came up with what I think would work. Here's what it is. And it's rough on trespassers.

1. Trespass on property and it's impound of the sled. Fines would range in the $1000 range for knowingly doing it. (multiple offender) Sled would only go back to owner after successfully passing a safety course at a Snowmobile club offering (might have to wait months for that).
2. Fines at every instance including from personal observation by safety trained club members who could involve a DCNR Ranger or National Forest Ranger. This way you don't get that "we didn't see it so it can't be prosecuted" problem. That needs resolved. Clubs are willing to help out but they need help to do so. This would work.
3. Fines for every step the offender does. Trespassing fines (already mentioned) Fines for no insurance ($1000) Fines for evading officers ($1000 first instance, sled impound otherwise) Fines for no registration ($1000) This one is a big problem in years when the snow actually comes in Pa. It's been observed (by me) that we have at least 50% of the people not registered who ride on the trails. This is a bigger problem only when it snows regularly. Otherwise in low snow years it's lesser of course cause those people don't come out. At a local event Poker Run is where i observed the 50% problem. This is on an area of private property riding mostly (with one area being Pa State Gamelands). In these instances there are no DCNR Rangers or National Forest people checking things. In our riding are of the Laurel Highlands that wouldn't occur as DCNR Rangers are checking everyone. You can't even unload your machine there without a registration usually. And they track down offenders who ride illegally on Quads and sleds there. Better enforcement is the bottom line.

Those are my top 3. But of course there's more. These few things would stop people and the ones who don't like the rules would quit and sell their machines and the rest of us would benefit. Enforcement goes a long way to keeping the illegal riding at bay. Otherwise it's just "game on" for those offenders who don't care. Impound their sled. They'd care then!
 
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