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Thread: North Maine Woods : Lockdown for groups

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    1,283

    Default North Maine Woods : Lockdown for groups

    I have just returned from a semi-successful 3rd group running of the DRAM trip which many of you are familiar with. Once again, the team was excellent in every way and we arrived to the Lubec lighthouse to witness the Supermoon just before dark.

    Unfortunately, the trip was not without issues, the largest of which was North Maine Woods. They are now no longer allowing entry to ANY GROUP of 4x4 vehicles. It doesn't matter whether you're a bunch of friends/trucks with just Rooftop Tents, or being led by some "Official" club. Doesn't matter. No groups.

    Their reasoning is something I can't argue with. Due to the increase in popularity of off road travel in general, they have had a large influx the last few years with groups of people coming in and treating the NMW as though it was their own property. People have been coming in and going off trail, breaking out the chainsaws and cutting trees, going around bridges just to drive thru a stream, and so many other blatantly stupid and disrespectful things. As a result of their poor decisions the entire community now suffers. The DRAM team was turned back even though we were going to just be utilizing a small portion of the Golden Road, and then getting right back out of the NMW territory, but that didn't matter.

    So if you are leading a group, or are intending to participate in a group ride up to the NMW, think again because you won't be allowed in. The gatekeeper confirmed this with the director of the NMW and this is a stance that they now consider permanent.

    So, for those who have gone up there and taken a big old dump in our collective sandbox, thanks a lot.

    Things that you shouldn't do off road in Maine, EVER...

    1. Cross a stream
    2. Go around a gate
    3. Cut a gate lock
    4. Cut a tree
    5. Make your own bypass around an obstacle
    6. Travel on muddy roads in the spring
    7. Speed on logging roads
    8. Travel on ATV trails
    9. Ignore posted property signs
    10. Pretty much anything else you wouldn't want somebody doing on your own property.

    If this misuse of Maine off road territory continues, the remainder of the logging roads will eventually be closed to 4x4 traffic, so PLEASE....be respectful, smart, and polite.

    SG
    Last edited by spencyg; 05-19-2017 at 04:41 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Maine
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    35
    So whats considered a group? More then one 4X4? Can you still go alone? Really sucks how hard they make it to explore Maine.

  3. #3
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    We didn't get into semantics so specific group size wasn't a topic of conversation. I inquired about their stance on individual vehicles and they said it would be a case by case basis. I'd bet anything more than 2 trucks and you're SOL. Even with 2 trucks, if you've got a snorkel, huge tires and are covered with mud, you can forget about getting in.

    Maine isn't hard to explore at all. What really sucks is the people who think its fun to tear up the trails, cut their own path and generally give all of us a bad name. That is what sucks.

    SG

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Upstate NY
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    The northeastern US really doesn't do 4wd/offroading right, IMHO. We seem to have a bunch of fragmented, disjointed clubs and semi-private groups which all have their own spots and areas they like to visit. This lack of community and unity leaves the door open for bad actors to go into these areas and ruin it for the rest of us.

    There needs to be a 4x4 organization that not only sets good ethics and standards (tread lightly, following local regulations, ect.) but also goes to private and public entities and advocates on our behalf. If we don't have a voice, then groups like NWM will think nothing of prohibiting our access to roads and trails.
    2011 4Runner Trail: Stock (Hopefully this changes soon)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    New England
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalko43 View Post
    There needs to be a 4x4 organization that not only sets good ethics and standards (tread lightly, following local regulations, ect.) but also goes to private and public entities and advocates on our behalf. If we don't have a voice, then groups like NWM will think nothing of prohibiting our access to roads and trails.
    This exists (North East Association of 4wd Clubs) but it is rock crawling focused and has been ignored by the "overland" community.

    Unfortunate news about the NMW. I hope they realize that restricting access will only fuel the "for" argument regarding the National Park. Not that that's happening anytime soon anyways though.
    Adam Check

    4WD Travel - socially responsible backcountry vehicle travel in the Northeast USA - www.4wdtravel.org / Facebook / Instagram

  6. #6
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    Jan 2015
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    Upstate NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by proper4wd View Post
    This exists (North East Association of 4wd Clubs) but it is rock crawling focused and has been ignored by the "overland" community.

    Unfortunate news about the NMW. I hope they realize that restricting access will only fuel the "for" argument regarding the National Park. Not that that's happening anytime soon anyways though.
    Well it might be a good idea for some on here to join that group and perhaps bring more of an "overlanding" theme to it.

    Interestingly enough, if you open up the group's main page, they have an article discussing why it is important to avoid using certain roads during the spring mud season.. http://nea4wd.org/. Seems kind of relevant to the what the OP was bringing up.
    2011 4Runner Trail: Stock (Hopefully this changes soon)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    162
    Me and 2 other guys were planning a trip in NMW last September, we wanted to go see the old locomotives and some other stuff. We contacted them to confirm a few things about camping.

    We introduced ourselves as a group of overlanders and the immediate response was that overlanders are no longer welcome in NMW because they had a group last year who did exactly the stupid things the OP said. We explained that we don't do these things, that we are just 3 guys who like driving in log roads and enjoying the view, that we respect the laws and the environment, that we are in our 50's and 60's, not a bunch of crazy kids.

    What they told us then is that anyone is welcome to enter NMW as individuals, wether they are alone or in small groups of friends. What they no longer want is organized runs with a guide that is making a business of it. Maybe things have changed in the last 2 months, maybe we would get a different answer today but in September that's what we were told.

    I have to say though that they seem to be careful when they hear "overlanding" and "overlanders" which they apparently associate to the bad experience they had.

  8. #8
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    Dec 2009
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    Escoumins and Petite-Riviere-St-Francois, Quebec, Canada
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    We made the trip in mid september.

    3 of us, all canuks with 3 vehicules. Just a bunch of friends. We told them that we were planning to get to the locomotives and also drive around to certain destinations. And they never mention anything like this. We went staight to one of the gates, had a chap with some realy nice clerks, had a very nice talk with a guide or interpreter at the Churchill depot.

    We had a very good 3 days in an out of the NMW. Never have we heard of something like that. But we were never annouce as a tour group and each of us took care of our paper work.

    So, If what is mention on this previous post is still accurate since we where theire around the same periode, we should be safe for an other round next year. Unless....
    Last edited by Lucky j; 11-15-2016 at 04:01 PM.
    Luc L., Paramedic, ski patroller, Charlevoix, Qc, Canada, 95 Wrangler, 1987 Honda Transalp

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Mass
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    68
    I have been doing a trip up there for a few years now and we have never had an issue either. (I've been a lurker on this site for awhile and when I saw this post, I had to join up.)

    We go up there with 4-5 vehicles and travel on all the marked/mapped roads and always camped at designated "sites." It's sad and infuriating that a few disrespectful people can shut down such a large space to everyone else that uses it responsibly.

    We always rolled up to the gates, showed them our paperwork and chatted with the gate attendant. They were always pleasant and kind to us and were always interested in what we do...overlanding that it. Hell, most of the time when we stopped we would buy something small from them like stickers, candy or other NMW related things.

    A few years ago we ran into a group of 5 raptors that were doing a "pre-run" for an event at a later date. They even seemed respectful of the land (except the speed limits) and I doubt they were going very far into the woods as they stuck to the golden road and other more traveled roadways. They did say that there was quite a large group of them that return later in the year to do a meet/run for a few days.

    Did they have any specifics on what caused them to come to this crazy conclusion of shutting the entire space down to groups (besides what was mentioned above)?

    We are already talking about our NMW2017 trip...so this is very sad news.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,283
    The specific events weren't mentioned by the gate keeper other than to say groups up trucks and jeeps had been doing serious damage to the road systems and that the land owners had enough. I know of a couple other groups that were permitted entry up thru the middle of last month and the woman said this is a new and permanent ruling by the land owners. As has been stated above, on a case by case basis she said they would continue letting in individual vehicles and small unofficial groups that have a specific plan and purpose for being in the woods (i.e. fishing at X pond, seeing the trains and staying at Y campsite, etc). I didn't get the sense that it was all "Overlanding" traffic they had a problem with.....they were looking at the problem in a more general "modified 4x4 vehicle" sense. If you went up there in a stock looking truck I'm sure you wouldn't have any problem.

    Land usage is the single biggest problem in this community and the people who act poorly define the actions of the entire population in the eyes of the land owners. I am extremely disappointed.

    SG

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