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Claremont ATV rail trail use eyed

CLAREMONT — The Conservation Commission is waiting to hear back from city attorneys and state officials regarding the use of ATVs on the city’s rail trail.

The issue was first raised at a forum last November at which public input was sought on the rail trail, said Conservation Commission Chairman Stephen Wood on Wednesday.

Some abutters of the rail trail contended that ATV use is prohibited on the trail by a 1993 agreement made with the acceptance of $250,000 of federal funds to turn the old rail bed into a trail, Wood said.

At the commission’s February meeting it was decided to seek the opinion of the city attorney and the state Department of Transportation to determine the matter, Wood said.

“We just felt very uncomfortable making decisions on managing the trails, a number of which were based on its current and active use of ATVs,” he said. “I don’t frankly know if it’s the Conservation Commission’s job to allow ATVs or not, but we want to get the best information we can on what previous agreements on that trail have said if anything about ATVs.”

In November the abutters that took issue with the use complained of ATV users exceeding the speed limit and kicking up dust at times when the trail is dry, Wood said.

The commission expects to hear back from both the city and state soon on the matter.

In the meantime the Conservation Commission is working to add safety measures to the trials such as signs where the trail crosses city streets, Wood said.


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