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Thread: Chick HIll and Atv Ride

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgrffdave View Post
    It's good to hear that other people are having trouble telling where trails are and aren't in that area... I'm not crazy!

    My wife and I just got our first wheeler this spring... a LONG overdue purchase. I did the recommended thing and joined a club: Airline ATV Riders out in Eddington. In trying to get trail info for a number of areas, including around Chick Hill, I keep getting referred to the State ATV map. If you haven't seen it yet you're in for a disappointment. It's far too lacking in usable detail and doesn't even have parking areas so you could easily learn by exploration. The map itself even says it's more for reference and to contact local clubs. At least 1/3 of the clubs I've contacted say they're working on maps but to get a state map.

    In talking with Airline club members recently going up Chick Hill is okay... but... apparently you're not supposed to park and unload in the parking area used by hikers and such now. Folks from the club told me that they unload down on the Stage Coach Road and ride up... where I don't know and up the road or some trail I'm not sure.

    A bit off topic but... On a ride last Sunday, in the rain no less, we unloaded on the Stud Mill Road at the Horseback. There is a pit on the right (South side) of the Stud Mill Road. The trail crosses the road at that point and you can make a good little loop by Pickerel Pond, around by/up Chick Hill, and back to the pit... I'm guessing around 18-20 miles. All good trail. I was only able to track part of it on the GPS. On that ride I bumped into folks from the Airline Club and asked how to get from that area over to trails heading toward Deer and on up to Duck Lake. They said there wasn't a connector. I'm gonna have to go out and do some recon because I'm almost positive that I saw trails heading toward Pickerel and Chick Hill when I was out with my truck around Deer and Duck earlier this spring. Anyone know of trails to do this?
    Dave . . . see me at work . . . I'm surprised that the Airline Club didn't give you a more detailed map of their trail system which helps out quite a bit. I have an older version . . . supposedly the clubs involved were working on a newer, updated version . . . while this map is old I know for a fact it would be an improvement over the State map.

    The problem with the State Map is -- as you discovered -- pretty much worthless except as a guide to figuring out where trails are located and providing some contact information for Clubs. The idea is to look at a map, decide where you want to ride and then to contact that Club to get a more detailed map or riding directions . . . the issue however is trying to hook up with a Club member and the fact that not every Club has readily available maps (for example, we have maps . . . which some members have . . . I have however begun work on a trail-side kiosk which I hope to have stocked with our trail maps, Troy ATV club maps and membership info.)

    To be honest, even the State's snowmobile trail map isn't the best . . . it is better than the ATV map, but only because the snowmobile map shows connecting ITS trails which allow you to plot a course from Point A to Point B. The State and ATV Maine are working on developing MAPS -- a numbered routing system that once implemented should allow you to do the same thing -- plot a general course from Point A to Point B. Neither map is detailed enough however to bring you to a specific location such as plot a course from a parking lot at the Airline to Chick Hill.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgrffdave View Post
    . . . I appreciate the challenge of people in the clubs doing all the work as volunteers over and above their regular lives. The membership to Airline is only $25/year and I figure just to help out with club costs and trail work that's a fair price. Plus, part of the dues as I understand go to ATV Maine... and if anything is going to get done for ATVers in Maine it's going to take some muscle at that level. It's also been helpful to be able to say I belong to a club when I've talked to clubs from other areas to get info.

    As far as bumping into a Warden, I'm not too worried. If I happen to get stopped by one, which is fairly unlikely if you're off the beaten path(s), I'm just going to pull out the state ATV trail map and say, "I'm doing the best I can when this is all I have to work with?"
    . . .
    I know no one is complaining about the trails and it has been said, but as an active club member of two Clubs (President of one) I too will say that opening and maintenance of a trail system is much more complex than simply going out and hanging a few signs. There is most definitely a time and cost factor . . . and then things like real work, house work, remodeling work and . . . yes . . . even those urges to go geocaching get in the way. Personally I work hard to try to balance the urge to ride the ATV with the urge to work on the trails . . . and of course the need to work for a living, work around the house, etc.

    Many folks don't realize that opening a trail and maintaining those trails is a challenge. You must speak with landowners and get permission (verbal is allowed, but written is better). Trails must then be blazed, bridges built when necessary (and lumber purchased), signs must be placed (and I find that there's never enough since locals always tend to either assume that the trail is obvious since they know where the trail goes or locals forget to sign the trail going both ways) and then in future years brush must be cut back, signs replaced, wash-outs fixed, etc. . . . needless to say with volunteerism down in every area and folks so busy in the summer and fall it's a challenge to get everything done . . . and then there's the paperwork for grants, club incorporation, club membership with the State, club membership with ATV Maine, DEP permits, etc.

    Not griping . . . just explaining that when trails are not signed as good as they should be . . . or maps aren't available . . . or trails are a bit rough . . . it may be due to the fact that some Clubs are struggling to do what they can with who they have.

    To explain the breakdown of club membership . . . $10 from each membership goes to ATV Maine (and the Club kicks in an additional flat rate fee of either $50 or $100 -- I forget the exact ammount) -- a truly worthwhile organization that represents Maine ATVers interests on the State-level (this group is akin to Snowmobiler's Maine Snowmobile Association). I cannot say enough good things about ATV Maine as they helped guide us in forming and attended countless public meetings with Selectmen and town residents . . . in addition they are on the forefront of ATV legislation and serve as a highly visible Public Relations function.

    In the two Clubs that I belong to we only charge $15 for a single membership, $20 for a family membership which means that the Club itself only gets $5 and $10 from each single/family membership after paying ATV Maine. Again, it is well worth the small cost . . . but be aware that Club memberships alone will not usually sustain a Club's expenses. While the Club is reimbursed for some expenses (lumber for bridges, work done on trails, etc.) and signs and advice are free there are some additional expenses (ATV Access route signs are not reimbursed, mailings to members, etc.) In Thorndike Trail Blazers ATV Club we are fortunate, last year all adult members that had worked on their trail were to be reimbursed . . . and all of them willingly donated their check to the Club. This resulted in a two-fold benefit . . . trail work was done and the Club had some money in the fund. This year I'm hoping that we can "pay" back some of these club members by hosting a dinner or Christmas party as a small way of thanking everyone for their help.

    Final thought . . . the wardens I've run into down on the Sunrise Trail are wicked nice and accomodating . . . something the warden in my area who has said on more than one occasion that he "hates" ATVs could learn from. The last time I rode down there two went by in a pick-up and never stopped to check registrations or anything. Last year or the year before when I went to Cherryfield we stopped (without being asked) by two gamewardens in a pick-up who said the trail system there was a godsend as it was keeping people off the blueberry barrens and woods roads where folks had complained in the past. I wouldn't worry too much about the game wardens.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  3. #13
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    brdad: If you're willing to share I'll gladly accept. I'll PM you with my address. I've got a bunch of programs so I should be able to make do with a number of formats. GPX would be the easiest but I've got Mapsource, Topo USA, Terrain Navigator, Google Earth, and if all else fails... GPSBabel works wonders! I'll gladly return the favor when I've got something to offer... LOL!

    FirefighterJake: Holy tons of info Batman! Where do I begin....?

    As I started to learn about how the "system" works now I quickly became surprised that so much gets done. Airline charges $25/year and I'm considering just sending them $50. It would still be a deal. I can't imagine how hard it must be to not only keep a local club going but get done all that needs to be done. From what little I've seen I would second the comments about ATV Maine. While I'm sure there are the nay-sayers that believe ATV Maine either hasn't done anything right or could do this or that SO much better, having a strong and visible organization at the state level is the only way to move the mountains that prevent further expansion of ATV recreation. Now if only more clubs would get their info updated on the ATV Maine site so you don't have to dig so hard to find club sites and the info they contain.

    As a newbie in the ATV world, knowing that there are all these great trails around and not having a good map to go by is maddening! "Acceptable" parking spots with the mileage of trails accessible from each would be a good start. I've tried to reach out to a few of the clubs nearest me and my email response rate is about 50% something / 50% nothing. As far as maps in general, I've got a couple thoughts as to what may be going on. In a lot of cases, after talking with some folks from different clubs, it sounds like a case of no one in the club having all the skills to get a map created. One may be able to use a GPS but not know how to track or get the track file onto the computer. Even if they can do that they may not have any idea how to clean it up and create a reproducible map... or have the software to do it.

    Airline sending me a state map was kind of a shock. They were rumored to be working with most of the clubs East of them on one complete map... imagine! I talked to Airline reps at the Sportsmen's Show in Orono and the guy working on the map project (along with everything else in his life I'm sure) showed me all the info in the computer. If I could only get a copy of that file!! He was using a couple different programs as he didn't know that either one would do everything he needed. I tried to offer some quick pointers with the crowd wandering through. He had an 8 1/2 x 11 printout for an example but it covered nearly everything from Eddington to Calais... far too small to be useful. He said they hoped to have a map done by this summer. Apparently not yet...

    While I can only dream of being able to load club trail tracks into my GPS, in this day and age I can see a huge risk to letting the actual track data get out. A great fund raiser for the club could be to sell good trail maps to non-members. If clubs were to let the actual trail data get out anyone could compile a bunch of data and sell a map with the club(s) getting absolutely nothing. Some of the clubs have started posting maps online in graphic format which is very helpful... depending on the quality of the map. I've seen some good and some, well... let's not go there.

    As far as the wardens... nothing against them but cops can be cops. Hearing that a warden "hates" ATVs doesn't surprise me any more than hearing a street cop say he "hates" motorcycles. I would expect most of them to be reasonable when they find you a bit from where you should be if you're legitimately off track and not doing something you truly shouldn't be.
    How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgrffdave View Post
    . . .
    As I started to learn about how the "system" works now I quickly became surprised that so much gets done. Airline charges $25/year and I'm considering just sending them $50. It would still be a deal. I can't imagine how hard it must be to not only keep a local club going but get done all that needs to be done. From what little I've seen I would second the comments about ATV Maine. While I'm sure there are the nay-sayers that believe ATV Maine either hasn't done anything right or could do this or that SO much better, having a strong and visible organization at the state level is the only way to move the mountains that prevent further expansion of ATV recreation. Now if only more clubs would get their info updated on the ATV Maine site so you don't have to dig so hard to find club sites and the info they contain.

    As a newbie in the ATV world, knowing that there are all these great trails around and not having a good map to go by is maddening! "Acceptable" parking spots with the mileage of trails accessible from each would be a good start. I've tried to reach out to a few of the clubs nearest me and my email response rate is about 50% something / 50% nothing. As far as maps in general, I've got a couple thoughts as to what may be going on. In a lot of cases, after talking with some folks from different clubs, it sounds like a case of no one in the club having all the skills to get a map created. One may be able to use a GPS but not know how to track or get the track file onto the computer. Even if they can do that they may not have any idea how to clean it up and create a reproducible map... or have the software to do it.

    Airline sending me a state map was kind of a shock. They were rumored to be working with most of the clubs East of them on one complete map... imagine! I talked to Airline reps at the Sportsmen's Show in Orono and the guy working on the map project (along with everything else in his life I'm sure) showed me all the info in the computer. If I could only get a copy of that file!! He was using a couple different programs as he didn't know that either one would do everything he needed. I tried to offer some quick pointers with the crowd wandering through. He had an 8 1/2 x 11 printout for an example but it covered nearly everything from Eddington to Calais... far too small to be useful. He said they hoped to have a map done by this summer. Apparently not yet...

    While I can only dream of being able to load club trail tracks into my GPS, in this day and age I can see a huge risk to letting the actual track data get out. A great fund raiser for the club could be to sell good trail maps to non-members. If clubs were to let the actual trail data get out anyone could compile a bunch of data and sell a map with the club(s) getting absolutely nothing. Some of the clubs have started posting maps online in graphic format which is very helpful... depending on the quality of the map. I've seen some good and some, well... let's not go there.

    As far as the wardens... nothing against them but cops can be cops. Hearing that a warden "hates" ATVs doesn't surprise me any more than hearing a street cop say he "hates" motorcycles. I would expect most of them to be reasonable when they find you a bit from where you should be if you're legitimately off track and not doing something you truly shouldn't be.
    Dave, Dave, Dave . . . my young ATVing grasshopper . . . have you learned nothing?

    Keep the $50 . . . just pay the $25 dues. However, if you really want to help offer up your time and experience. Honestly, I would love to have half the members in our Club (not that we're overly large) if the half remaining were active and willing to spend time signing the trail, brushing the trail, creating new trails, talking to landowners, talking to Selectmen, build bridges, etc . . . and that doesn't even touch on my "dream list" -- projects that I would love to see our Club do some day such as create a website with posted maps, donate time to the Town by running a rock rake down gravel roads where we don't have trails as a way of thanking the towns people for giving us permission to use some of the other roads as Access Routes, etc.

    If you are able to donate some time signing these trails . . . or even better offer up your time and experience in making their map a reality or by getting a website going it would be far, far better than an additional $25 for the Club. Now I should caution you . . . not all Clubs and all members are going to be receptive to a new guy coming in and wanting to help in this manner. Some folks get defensive as you might surmise or will think the new guy will just cost the Club more money or that he will not carry through . . . however I suspect many, if not most, Clubs will throw the proverbial ball into your court and see what you can do.

    As you said . . . and I suspect . . . most Clubs either don't have members with the skills to create viable maps or set up websites, don't have the time or don't have the money . . . or it's a combination of all three. For example, setting up a website with good maps will hopefully be done at some point . . . but I don't have any members who are capable of doing this (I just don't have the time) and when it comes to time and money . . . well let's just say I have several bridges to build that will come before building a website.

    Now about that map . . . the map I have is a bit older. Originally got it from Dave (not you . . . Double D). This map is much larger than 8 x 12. What I ended up doing to make this map more useful was cut it up, scan it with my color scanner and then laminate it and tape it together . . . it's not perfect, but it is much better than before as it is now "trail tough."
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  5. #15
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    I guess my first step would be to go to a meeting and see what's really needed. I haven't been able to since I joined either due to my work schedule getting in the way or being out of town.
    How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

  6. #16
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    brdad: Thanks for the file. GPSBabel had a heck of a time with that thing. It spit out a GPX file that looked like I dumped a pile of spaghetti on a map! Thanks to an online converter I found that turns plt files into Google Earth KML files, and then GPSBabel, I'm in business.
    How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

  7. #17
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    Whew - techie son - I am amazed.

    For all of you who may think about coming to the Apres Last Cache Bashe in Sept. I will have my wifi open so you may all do this stuff and talk to your hearts desires on the deck!

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgrffdave View Post
    brdad: Thanks for the file. GPSBabel had a heck of a time with that thing. It spit out a GPX file that looked like I dumped a pile of spaghetti on a map! Thanks to an online converter I found that turns plt files into Google Earth KML files, and then GPSBabel, I'm in business.
    Very cool - care to share the URL of the converter and/or email the KML file? I'd like to see what it looks like in Google Earth. The last time I tried to convert it, I got spaghetti too! With meatballs and Sausage!

    I am not surprised it was a mess, there are many separate track files in that one file. It took me a good chunk of a summer to map it all out.
    DNFTT! DNFTT! DNFTT!

    "The funniest thing about this particular signature is that by the time you realize it doesn't say anything it's to late to stop reading it..."

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by brdad View Post
    Very cool - care to share the URL of the converter and/or email the KML file? I'd like to see what it looks like in Google Earth. The last time I tried to convert it, I got spaghetti too! With meatballs and Sausage!

    I am not surprised it was a mess, there are many separate track files in that one file. It took me a good chunk of a summer to map it all out.
    Hey BRDad - if he doesn't respond - let me know - I will bump him. He has a crazy work schedule and I know is on this site spasmotically. Just let me know if you don't get an answer back.

  10. #20
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    brdad: Here's the address for the site that can convert Ozi plt files to GE kml files. Don't ask me how I found it because I'm still not sure.
    http://www.gpslib.net/services/OziTr...leEarth-Track/
    Email of the file was just sent too. Once I got it in GE I could save it from there as a gpx that didn't look like spaghetti.

    This little exercise showed me that consolidating/combining gps tracks is NO WHERE near as easy as I thought it would be. For those dabbling in this area I came across a program called TopoFusion. It's free download is the most usable nearly unlimited demo I've ever seen. It has a couple neat features that allow combining and simplifying (read point reduction) of multiple gps tracks... better than anything I've seen so far. That being said I've yet to come across one program that has all the tools needed in one package.

    Back along the lines of the original thread... anyone come across an "authorized" atv trail link between the trails that surround Chick Hill and the nice long loop that is the Airline Snack Bar, Duck Lake, and beyond?
    How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

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