OHRV Use Picking Up in Musquash Conservation Land

The Conservation Commission is looking at an increase in OHRV (off-highway recreational vehicle) use in the Musquash Conservation area and potentially installing a gate to restrict the vehicles’ access from Litchfield Road.

Commissioner Mike Speltz recently encountered riders in the power lines coming from Litchfield Road, near Continental Paving’s property.

“Historically, that has been an area of concern,” member Deb Lievens said.

Speltz informed the riders they need the permission of the property owner to ride through the power lines or any other property on an OHRV, and reported the activity to the Police.

“They said they’re from Hudson and use the power lines to get to get to where they ride,” he said.

The Commission agreed that installing a gate at the area’s entrance, to which the Commission and first responders would have a key, is probably the best solution to the problem, in addition to raising awareness for permitted uses in the Musquash.

“It was clear there’s a lot of riding going on when we were conducting monitoring of the area,” Commissioner Mike Byerly said.

“It had really tapered off there for a while and now it’s starting to pick back up again,” Lievens said.

Byerly said he installed signs in the area informing riders OHRV use in the Musquash is not permitted.

OHRV use in conservation areas creates sediment, according to Speltz. “When it rains, the sediment moves and it creates rutting and erosion,” he said.

“Once a channel forms, water can move the whole subsoil away. So not only do the plants under the tires suffer, but plants on either side of the tracks suffer because water rushes by them instead of soaking into the soil,” he said.

While OHRV use is restricted in all the Town’s conservation areas, snowmobiling is permitted because the tracks pack down snow, rather than digging into soil.

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