Lake Auburn & Community Trails – Trails for EVERYONE.
WE ARE ASKING YOU TO SHARE, VOICE OR WRITE YOUR DESIRE TO CONTINUE TO GROOM AND SHARE ALL OF THE WHITMAN SPRING ROAD TRAIL.
For decades, the Lake Auburn community trails have been open to the public by the generous permission of private land owners. Large property owners like the Wallingfords, Hammonds, Berrys, Whitings, the Auburn Water District, Thornes, Goulds, Hacketts, Whitmans, Hutchinsons, Benners, Nicholses, Brockes, Shaws, Shanamans, Tardiffs, the Lake Auburn Watershed Neighborhood Association (LAWNA), and so many more have opened portions of their land to the public and are getting special State protections from liability in doing so under the Maine “landowner liability” law (or the recreational use statute), Title 14, M.R.S.A. Section159-A. Most do it because they are generous people and want to share the wonder of the forests and fields during the winter time.
Since 1968 the Perkins Ridge Sno-Travelers (PRST) have been grooming and maintaining these Lake Auburn area trails for not just snowmobiling, but also for skiing, walking, snow shoeing, sledding, horseback riding, skijoring and now biking with fat tires.
In 1992, the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission (LAWPC) was formed for the continued protection of Lake Auburn to help maintain the City’s waiver of filtration. Since then, the Whitman Spring Road (WSR) was discontinued and a public easement for recreation was NEVER attained for the City of Auburn. Today it is managed by senior staff of the Lewiston Water Division & Auburn Water District, both the “Clerks” for LAWPC, meeting formally about five times are year. THIS IS A PRIVATE ROAD/TRAIL NOW !!
Last year with the partnership of Lost Valley, and some very generous land owners along the Young’s Corner & West Auburn Roads, the old trail from the South side of the Spring Road to Lost Valley & Taylor Pond was reopened with fantastic views. This permitted all types of winter trail users (all neighbors and local to Auburn) to avoid getting on the marginal ice of Lake Auburn early and late in the seasons. It allowed snowmobilers, bikers, skiers, and runners to make “good choices” by using the southern portion of the Spring Road, around the middle and southern gates to access all the Lake Auburn trails. This trail, called TRAIL 1, connects the Basin, Turner, Minot, Community Center, Lost Valley, Auburn Nordic Ski Association, Perkins Ridge, Taylor Pond, Mt. Apatite and Auburn Middle School.
WE NEED THE ABILITY FOR THE GROOMERS AND MAINTENANCE VOLUNTEERS TO USE THE SOUTHERN SECTION OF THE SPRING ROAD. “Groomed” trails allow all types of users access, including developing handicap & other non-invasive options.
Recently, a handful of neighboring property owners expressed their concerns to the LAWPC because of increased snowmobile activity last year when the ice was not safe. Maybe a little machine noise? Or the speed limit of 25 MPH is getting exceeded? There is some fear of home or camp break-ins? Maybe folks just don’t want to share the trail? These concerns have brought out the decision to have a public hearing. It appears that some folks don’t want others in their “back-yard,” that is supposed to be public trust lands.
The PRST groomers are funded by City snowmobile registrations, club memberships, donations, the Lake Auburn Community Center, and most importantly the State Snowmobile Program which requires access to snowmobiling to provide funding for those sections of trails. Losing the ability to groom the southern end of the Whitman Spring Road Trail will mean losing the smooth, not icy, tree and branch-free trails, and puts trail enthusiasts on the un-safe ice of Lake Auburn. Keeping snowmobiles off the ice should be everyone’s concern and keeping this trail accessible helps to ensure safety for local snowmobilers maintaining and enjoying winter trails.
These trails existed since the first settlers walked unimpeded along the shores of Lake Auburn, and they were likely in existence for many years, if not centuries earlier.
We ask you to voice and/or write your thoughts to your Mayor, City Councilors, Auburn Water District Trustees, LAWPC Commissioners, LWD & AWD Superintendents, and above all, your neighbors or friends that might be opposed to the “OPEN Winter Trails Policy.”
Dan Bilodeau, 207 N. Auburn Road.
Trustee, Auburn Water District
Trail-master, Perkins Ridge Sno-Travelers
President, Lake Auburn Watershed Neighborhood Association