Absolutely it's as big of a deal as they're saying. Take a look around DooTalk and your local trails. Trails are being closed every day. People who seem to think the "Stay on the Trails or Stay Home" are meant for someone else as the ones ruining it for everyone else.
It's a pretty simple formula;
Keep it stock (no cans) and stay on the trails, otherwise you're part of the problem.
You can't make a blanket statement like that. Many places you can ride state land. The problem with NH is that much of the land is owned privately, so you would need permission. You need to distinguish from the two.
I have spoken with the head of the NH fish and game a couple of years ago. They want to make NH a family-friendly snowmobile state, which is great. I think that is very important. But I had encouraged him to make sections like Pittsburg speed zones with different rules for the more advanced riders. They think that is what Maine is for. I do not doubt that they will heavily police the offtrail now, and they should if it is private property. Probably the most disregard that I have seen from snowmobilers on clearly posted trails not to venture offtrail has been in NH.
NH is very beautiful and the people are very nice. I used to go camping there with the family every year. But the enforcement has just gotten to the point that I really do not feel like I want to be there so much anymore. Thought about getting a weekend place in NH at one time, but the family got one in Maine instead. Much more relaxed up there. Don't get me wrong, I think the F&G people are awesome and I am in debt to them. They are just following policies.
I've always enjoyed N.H...we started riding at a place in southern N.H. called Lake Shore Farm, owned by Ellis Ring in Northwood back in the mid 70's, and even back then, I can remember weekends being PACKED with riders...then in 1981, my dad was told about Errol, N.H....so we started going to the Errol Motel, and became quite good friends with the owners Rob and Jean, and we continued going there until '96. And even all those years, we would always try to do Monday thru Friday trips to beat the insane weekend traffic...which worked out good in the beginning, but towards the end, a lot of other families were doing that too, so it got quite busy during the week.
We would always make one "big" trip to either Jackman or Patten Maine every year for a 2 week stay...and I do agree, there was always a more relaxed feeling being in Maine. I had a house in Lamoine Maine in '04, and worked at MDI Hospital in Bar Harbor...never got a chance to ride around there though.
Now that my parents have been outa the sport for several years, me and a life long buddy trailer on up to Groveton during the week, then we're kinda centralized...great riding north up to Pittsburg, and great riding south to Twin Mt.
As for the off trail thing, I myself didn't start noticing people excessively going off trail illegally until shortly after ME and NH registrations stopped being combined.
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