This coming spring, there will be some changes to gravel road access. Beginning after the snow melts, all roads in the Downeast Lakes Community Forest will be closed to all vehicle traffic for the Spring Mud Season. Roads will be reopened on May 15th, or at the earliest date when conditions allow for safe travel. The roads will remain open and ungated at all other times of the year.
This change in road management is important for the future of the road system, and will ultimately have positive results for the long-term public access to the community forest. Each year, DLLT spends an estimated $15,000 to $20,000 repairing roads damaged by careless spring travel. By preventing the need for such repairs, DLLT will be able to make new investments that improve the overall condition of road surfaces and provide better vehicle access for everyone throughout the rest of the year.
In addition to concerns for road damage, this management decision stems from concerns for public safety. In 2019 alone, the Maine Warden Service responded to three separate instances of stranded vehicles on DLLT roads during Mud Season. This is costly for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and potentially dangerous for the drivers involved.
Gates will be installed in late fall 2020, but they will remain open until the end of snowmobiling season. All gate closing and opening dates will be advertised on DLLT’s website and social media at the earliest opportunity. We thank you for your understanding of this change, and your cooperation as we work to ensure safe and high-quality public access to the Downeast Lakes Community Forest.