New Rail Trail Task Force to be Appointed

A section of the Rail Trail off Railroad Ave.

Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio will be appointing a new task force to come up with a solution concerning the Rail Trail, which is the only part of Sanford’s official trail system that is open to ATVs. This section has been the subject of a long-standing dispute between the Sanford ATV Club and the Trails Committee.

The Trails Committee cited complaints from trail abutters regarding dust and noise, ATV users who don’t follow posted rules, and environmental degradation caused by the vehicles in its recent decision to recommend ATVs no longer be allowed on the Rail Trail. The City Council, however, has the final say. ATV Club members contend that they represent the majority of users on the trail, but are barred from voting on Trails Committee business, and say their attempts to help with maintenance issues have been rebuffed.

The concept of a task force, or a separate Rail Trail Committee, had been proposed over a year ago, but was put on hold due to the pandemic and the departure of former Parks & Rec Director Alan Grady.

The task force will be advisory in nature, with the specific mission to work on resolving conflicts of use and promote shared, safe, responsible usage of the Rail Trail. It will report directly to the City Council, and the Council will make any final decisions regarding the Trail, which may or may not include prohibiting motorized usage.

The task force will consist of Parks Director Brian Desrochers, two Trails Committee members, two ATV Club members, two Snowmobile club members, two Cycle Sanford members, and two abutting property owners. Once the members are appointed, which is expected to happen at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, they will have 60 days to report back to the Council with any recommendations.