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Unread 08-31-2013, 09:21 AM   #1
ZJMatt
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Pembroke "Range Roads" Abuse

It would be greatly appreciated if everyone who uses these trails (Class VI) roads could read this message, and pass it along to their clubs, other forums, share it on facebook, etc. to help the word get out. My friends are tired of hearing about it and I doubt they're the problem anyway. We need to get this out there as much as possible.

Post to share via facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExploringNH...23936147715843
Post to share from ExploringNH: http://forums.exploringnh.com/showth...ke-Roads-Abuse

This will be a long post, but please read and share!

Pembroke, NH has about 12 miles of Class VI roads which are legal for vehicular use (as well as OHRVs if they are registered for street use). Most of these roads are interconnected and can be done without ever touching pavement. The vastness of this trail network makes it possible to be out there without ever meeting another person, although there could be a dozen others out there at any time. The network is also only 10 minutes from Concord.

These characteristics have caused it to become one of the most popular wheeling destinations in the state, and has opened the network up to all kinds of abuse. Spring of 2012 brought 4x4 owners from all over, who tore up the roads with ruts, hindering logging operations, and also held illegal mud runs on private land. In the summer of 2012, it was brought up at a town meeting to potentially turn all of these Class VI roads into Class B Municipal Trails.

Vehicular traffic is NOT allowed at all on Class B Trails - not even by landowners. This was an obvious issue since so much land would become landlocked which the town would need to compensate the landowners for (monetarily). In the end, the town voted to enact a legally designated "Mud Season" ban on the Class VI roads. By NH state law, towns are allowed to impose weight limits on Class VI roads just as they are maintained roads.

Signs were visibly placed at the entrance to all of the Class VI roads, as well as the power lines which could be used to (illegally) gain access to the Class VI roads.


Anyone caught driving on the Class VI roads would be fined $1000, in addition to being responsible for paying to repair damages done to the roads.

Sadly this stopped the responsible ones from going out, but many others just didn't care.

"Opening Weekend" came - the first weekend of June. And the problems got even worse. Bonfires, drinking parties, drinking & driving, littering, dumping. All the same problems as have always plagued these trails - but worse this time around.

I approached the town, to hold an official "Clean Up Day" with other members of ExploringNH.com, where at least 10 volunteers would come in and clean up all of the trash along the roads. We were shot down and told that group activities would certainly result in a call to the police.

To not cause any issues with the town, we called our Cleanup Day off - but agreed to go as volunteers and do a little work on our own as time allowed. I have personally done most of the work since I daily drive my Jeep to Concord 6 days a week, and make a pass through the roads after work. But we are thankful for the help from other friends and members.

At this point, we have cleaned up 55 thirty gallon trash bags full of trash (cans, bottles, misc household trash), two truck loads and two trailer loads of larger trash (results of illegal dumping), and eliminated numerous fire pits along the roads. All free of charge, on our own time, out of the kindness of our hearts, and our strong desire to keep these roads open.

A few weekends ago there was a group who had a fire on some private land off of the roads (where I know the owner - who does not want anyone on their land!) and I found items left behind that identified the responsible parties as well as a trail of Miller Lite cans down the Class VI roads to where the bridge is out.

Since the bridge has been out, people blazed their own trail down the embankment and through the rocky brook below (up to 18" deep) and through to the other side. Many people do not realize that this is a wetlands violation, and anyone caught driving in the brook can face fines of up to $10,000 by the NH Department of Environmental Services, as well as paying for damages.

HOWEVER these people didn't just drive through the brook, like hundreds of others have done before them. They took it upon themselves to drive off the bridge abutment, down into the muddy wetlands on the opposite side, in a deliberate attempt to get their Jeep muddy. Not only is this dredging in wetlands, but it is also destruction of Conservation Land (the piece of land on that side of the road is town-owned conservation land). From there, the trail of cans went back through private property down to another class 6 road. These violators have been spoken to, but I don't think it sunk in, because...

Two weekends ago (8/17 weekend) I made my usual rounds through the roads. To my amazement, I did not clean up ANY new trash!

BUT I went out last night, and this past week(end) has been one of the worst yet. I found four new/rekindled fire pits, all within close proximity of one-another. Including one on the private property mentioned earlier, and one in the intersection of class 6 roads!

There was also a trail of Bud Light cans with two sets of matching date codes, leading from one of the fire pits, down to the bridge. And you guessed it... MORE tracks off the side of the bridge and down into the swampy wetlands!

Before I post a barrage of pictures, I'd like to identify the issues going on here.
- Blatant lack of respect (sure, it may not be illegal, but sure does make people upset)
- Illegal dumping & littering
- Trespassing onto private property without permission. (*this includes the powerlines, which are illegal without permission*)
- Bonfires without permits
- DUI / Open Container (same rules apply on Class VI roads as normal roads)
- Laws being violated when leaving the trails presumably intoxicated
- Destruction of town conservation property
- Alcohol & fires on conservation property (violation of town ordinance)
- Dredging in wetlands


In addition to making my weekly loops through this trail network and cleaning up after those who have no respect for the trails, I will also be getting in touch with local law enforcement, NH Fish & Game, and NH Department of Environmental Services to see about stepping up patrols and monitoring this area.

Such behavior will NOT be tolerated, and in the end will result in this great network of LEGAL off-roading, to be shut down to all users.

Here are some pictures of some examples of damage and the work we've done.

One of many loads:


Another load...



Fire pit that happened during closed mud season, at the intersection of two class VI roads.


The same fire pit immediately after cleaning it up on 6/11 (no signs of it existing now, 2½ months later)


Illegal dumping at the dirtbike track. If anyone has a way to dispose of this stuff, as well as the 80-ish tires out there, free of charge, let me know.





Private property where wetlands have been torn up








And now the damage from this past weekend.

Fire pit IN the road



Tire tracks off the side of the bridge, into the swampy wetlands.




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Unread 09-01-2013, 09:36 AM   #2
Technohead
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Nice work with the clean up and its an absolute disgrace that the town/city was not willing to partner with you guys on the clean-up.

At this point I would recommend setting up your own "patrols". Wait for these little disrespecting POS's to show up and then call the authorities. Either that or teach them some respect on the spot.
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Unread 09-02-2013, 07:45 AM   #3
ZJMatt
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Originally Posted by Technohead View Post
Nice work with the clean up and its an absolute disgrace that the town/city was not willing to partner with you guys on the clean-up.

At this point I would recommend setting up your own "patrols". Wait for these little disrespecting POS's to show up and then call the authorities. Either that or teach them some respect on the spot.
Yeah we couldn't understand the attitude the town had toward us, as volunteers. Its almost as if they WANT the roads closed (which wouldn't surprise me).

The landowner I know and a friend often watch his property/trailhead on weekend nights but these punks always seem to show up after he leaves. I wouldn't feel comfortable patrolling unless there was a good group of us. Nothing sounds appealing about running into a bunch of drunk yahoos with guns and trying to get them to respect the place.
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Unread 09-02-2013, 07:59 AM   #4
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Camo and a nightvision camera... Wait... Take pics.. Call cops... Let them handle the drunks with guns.
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Unread 09-02-2013, 08:14 AM   #5
ZJMatt
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Originally Posted by Shadownwpa View Post
Camo and a nightvision camera... Wait... Take pics.. Call cops... Let them handle the drunks with guns.
Well, my buddy does have a ghillie suit. haha.

If I could get people to share this via facebook, that'd be great. We've already reached almost 600 people through FB alone. Here's the link to the post:
https://www.facebook.com/ExploringNH...23936147715843
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Unread 09-04-2013, 08:58 AM   #6
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As for getting rid of the tires, you can try to partner up with some sort of tire company/ shop. (Corporate would probably be more willing for two reasons: One, cost of removal. And two, to get their name out there showing that they do good things for the local area.) I used to work for Firestone and I know that the company has been involved in land clean ups in the past. Another idea would even be Town Fair Tire. If I remember correctly they own their own company for scrap tire removal. I think it's Lakin Tire? Anything like this would be worth a shot. If you try to set up any kind of cleanup though, keep me in mind too. I can see what I can do to help!
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Unread 09-04-2013, 12:17 PM   #7
ZJMatt
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Originally Posted by Greentj05 View Post
As for getting rid of the tires, you can try to partner up with some sort of tire company/ shop. (Corporate would probably be more willing for two reasons: One, cost of removal. And two, to get their name out there showing that they do good things for the local area.) I used to work for Firestone and I know that the company has been involved in land clean ups in the past. Another idea would even be Town Fair Tire. If I remember correctly they own their own company for scrap tire removal. I think it's Lakin Tire? Anything like this would be worth a shot. If you try to set up any kind of cleanup though, keep me in mind too. I can see what I can do to help!
Yeah I was thinking od talking to Town Fair since there are 2 locations about 15 minutes away.

Most everything else is cleaned up at this point. Not perfect but a lot better than it was!
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Unread 09-18-2013, 09:45 AM   #8
ZJMatt
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I'd like to thank everyone who has been using these trails respectfully, and those who took the time to read through this post, and share it. Across the sites where I posted it, this message reached nearly 2000 people.

Things have definitely quieted down the past couple weeks out here, as far as 4x4 use goes. I've been cleaning up very little new trash, and mostly stuff I had missed in the past because it was underwater in the ditches or under vegetation that's dying now in the colder weather. No new destruction of private land, and I even walked a section of the power lines yesterday and there weren't any recent tracks.

So thanks again to anyone who's been out there recently!

Since things have died down on the 4x4 side, we're faced with a new problem though. People illegally dumping and using the items for target practice. Maybe it has something to do with it now being deer season (for bow hunting, with firearm season coming soon). But in the past week alone I've come across 4 TV's that have been dumped and shot up on the trails as well as other items.

I'm assuming that is from locals. If anyone local can spread this message along, that'd be great! I'm certainly not condoning illegal dumping, but it's one thing to dump some TVs in the woods where someone else can come along and clean them up and pay $5 at the dump to get rid of them (can't believe people are actually THAT cheap though!). But to shoot them up so they're a mess of sharp plastic and glass and a royal pain to clean up.... it's just uncalled for. If you want to target practice, tack up a piece of plywood with a target onto a tree and shoot at that. Or at least take out whatever you carry in. It's common courtesy for all kinds of recreation.
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Unread 09-18-2013, 10:39 AM   #9
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Good to hear it's been getting better.. At least it's a step in the right direction! Hopefully word spreads quick for the rest of the issues.
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Unread 09-30-2013, 08:52 PM   #10
ZJMatt
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Another update...

First off I just want to reiterate about the bridge out. This trail is CLOSED. The bypass was blocked for a couple weeks before people came through with chainsaws and winches and cleared it (and cut another one). Driving out of the right-of-way of the road, and down into the brook is a violation of wetlands laws and can result in a fine of up to $10,000!

On that note, we'll be seeing what we can do about trying to get the bridge rebuilt. Unfortunately where it's a public roadway and a span of 12 ft, it needs to be approved by the town at a minimum. How involved that process is, I'm not sure yet. The town Roads Committee is having a meeting tomorrow night, but I am unable to attend since I'll be at work until 10pm.

On a second positive note, VIP Tires & Service on Manchester St in Concord is willing to work with us on disposing of the tires out there at a lesser rate. I would like to give a big "thank you" to them for that. ExploringNH was able to raise enough money to cover the cost of disposal of the 78 tires I counted out there today! I plan on going out there on Friday morning with my utility trailer and hauling out at least one load of tires. A second trailer would be great since mine is only 5x8, so I would probably only be able to fit about 30 tires on it while keeping a stable load.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 08:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ZJMatt View Post
Another update...

First off I just want to reiterate about the bridge out. This trail is CLOSED. The bypass was blocked for a couple weeks before people came through with chainsaws and winches and cleared it (and cut another one). Driving out of the right-of-way of the road, and down into the brook is a violation of wetlands laws and can result in a fine of up to $10,000!

On that note, we'll be seeing what we can do about trying to get the bridge rebuilt. Unfortunately where it's a public roadway and a span of 12 ft, it needs to be approved by the town at a minimum. How involved that process is, I'm not sure yet. The town Roads Committee is having a meeting tomorrow night, but I am unable to attend since I'll be at work until 10pm.

On a second positive note, VIP Tires & Service on Manchester St in Concord is willing to work with us on disposing of the tires out there at a lesser rate. I would like to give a big "thank you" to them for that. ExploringNH was able to raise enough money to cover the cost of disposal of the 78 tires I counted out there today! I plan on going out there on Friday morning with my utility trailer and hauling out at least one load of tires. A second trailer would be great since mine is only 5x8, so I would probably only be able to fit about 30 tires on it while keeping a stable load.
Is there somewhere people can donate to help defer cost of tire disposal? On ExploringNH?
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Unread 10-01-2013, 09:19 AM   #12
ZJMatt
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Is there somewhere people can donate to help defer cost of tire disposal? On ExploringNH?
Yes, details are here:
http://forums.exploringnh.com/showth...intenance-Fund

It's a general cleanup/maintenance fund, not just for tires and other dumped materials. But also if we are able to get approval from the town to rebuild the bridge, this is where the money would come from. Not just in Pembroke, but any cleanup or maintenance we do on any trails.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 09:27 AM   #13
biffgnar
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Originally Posted by ZJMatt View Post
Yes, details are here:
http://forums.exploringnh.com/showth...intenance-Fund

It's a general cleanup/maintenance fund, not just for tires and other dumped materials. But also if we are able to get approval from the town to rebuild the bridge, this is where the money would come from. Not just in Pembroke, but any cleanup or maintenance we do on any trails.
Thanks, I'll get over there this evening to make a donation. And I'd encourage others to do the same. Even if this isn't your part of the country we all need to do what we can to maintain good land access. By being good stewards of the land we are doing our part.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 09:39 AM   #14
ZJMatt
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Originally Posted by biffgnar View Post
Thanks, I'll get over there this evening to make a donation. And I'd encourage others to do the same. Even if this isn't your part of the country we all need to do what we can to maintain good land access. By being good stewards of the land we are doing our part.
Awesome, thank you! I realize that depending on where you are in Westchester County you're at least 4 hours from here. But are you a member on ExploringNH? We do have some members from NY.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 09:43 AM   #15
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Awesome, thank you! I realize that depending on where you are in Westchester County you're at least 4 hours from here. But are you a member on ExploringNH? We do have some members from NY.
I did join ExploringNH a couple months ago but haven't been over there recently. My parents live in Leominster MA so I do get up that way from time to time. Actually bought a Delorme map thinking I drive up in to NH and explore but haven't done it yet.
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