Woodland selectmen mull purchase of property adjacent to ATV trails
WOODLAND, Maine — Woodland selectmen Tuesday discussed the possibility of buying property for sale on Church Street to keep access to an ATV trail connecting the town to Caribou and Washburn.
Gary Marquis, superintendent of Caribou’s Parks and Recreation Department, brought the matter to the board’s attention, stating that a member of the family that owns the property recently told Caribou officials he was interested in selling it.
Caribou Parks and Rec not only maintains the trails within Caribou, but in other neighboring towns such as Woodland and New Sweden. Marquis said he didn’t think it would be right if the city of Caribou owned property in another municipality, and suggested that the town of Woodland consider buying the half acre plot of land.
Marquis added that staffers with the Caribou Parks and Rec would clean up the land and potentially convert it into a rest area for travelers, as it connects Woodland, Caribou, and Washburn.
He said that particular portion of the trail could potentially be closed off if the land were sold to a private citizen.
“If someone else purchases that property, [ATVers will] have no way to get to Washburn or New Sweden,” he said “and we all know how important the recreational business is in this County and the state of Maine.”
He said a member of the family who owns the property indicated that he would sell it for $5,000, and that Caribou Parks and Rec would maintain the area if Woodland purchases the property.
Woodland already provides Caribou with sled and ATV registration funds to maintain the trails in Woodland. Selectman William Barnum asked if Caribou would be willing to let Woodland use those funds to pay for the property.
Marquis said Caribou would accept that offer, as the money goes “right back into the trail maintenance reserve” account.
Selectmen Chair Carl Grant suggested paying for half the property upfront and then funding the rest via registration dollars.
While the board was receptive to the deal, Selectman Tom Drew pointed out that the family member who contacted Caribou is technically not the owner of the property. Drew suggested contacting the man’s mother or sisters to confirm the offer.
Woodland Tax Collector Amber Moutinho also pointed out that the owners of the property still owe taxes for 2017 and 2018.
Drew asked if the town of Woodland would be liable for anything that happens on the property. Marquis indicated that as long the town gives permission to the state to use the land as part of the ATV trail system, then the community would be covered by the state.
“The only way the town of Woodland would be liable is if you went out there and strung out rocks on the trail on purpose and didn’t say anything,” Marquis said.
The selectmen agreed they are interested in buying the property but suggested that Marquis contact the owners to verify the $5,000 purchase price before they take an official vote on the matter.