, Derry, New Hampshire

May 23, 2013

Officials ponder ATV use in Weber Forest

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — Conservation Commission members are pondering what to do about rogue ATV users, who are making a mess of some trails in town.

The town-owned Weber Forest is now the target of this form of vandalism, officials say, as the motorized riders are tearing up the forest’s trails.

This comes after Weber was in the news following extensive shooting vandalism to trees.

Now it’s ATVs riding in the forest, something that is not allowed, Conservation Commission Chairman Margie Ives said.

Weber Forest is a town-owned, 275-acre conservation property that offers wooded space for hiking, camping, fishing and hunting.

Recently, volunteers went into Weber for a spring cleanup and saw what the ATVs were doing to the trails.

“But instead of staying on the trails, unfortunately, they twirl around in a circle and make a big pit,” Ives said. “They get off the trails.”

Ives said it’s been several years since ATV riders in town have received any sort of town notification about riding on the trails and what is allowed or not allowed.

There is a state ATV club based in Derry.

“I think we need to do something again,” Ives said. “I think it’s time for another reminder.”

Weber Forest is posted that no ATV riding is allowed. Snowmobiles are allowed to use the land’s trails.

“This land is posted, no ATVs,” Ives said. “And the land is still abused.”

She said there are ways to address the problem and more discussion is needed. Boulders could be placed in strategic spots on trails to thwart any ATV riding. But officials say they don’t want to block the allowed snowmobile use.

Adding trail gates could also work, Ives said.

“But I’m just brainstorming,” she said. “I don’t know the answers.”

She suggested asking ATV club members to attend a meeting so a discussion can take place on how to keep the problem in check.