Quad goals: Renewed focus on ATV ban at Ames Nowell

With four-wheelers and motorbikes an ongoing nuisance in Ames Nowell State Park, the park’s rangers are reminding people that motorized vehicles aren’t allowed in the 600-acre reservation.

“They’re no good. They tear up the place environmentally,” said Matt Tobin, the park’s top ranger.

Motorized vehicles have been a problem for years, but some say they’ve seen an uptick in the number of them roaring through trails in the park’s northern and western corners. Riders tend to park on Chestnut Street along the park’s northern border, and then take off down the wide fire roads or access roads under the transmission lines.

Department of Conservation & Recreation regulations state that: “[no] person may operate any motor vehicle, electric bicycle, or motorized conveyance upon or over any trail that is not designated for such operation, except to cross over such trail wheresuch crossing is designated” by the department or allowed with a department permit.

Tobin said ranger Dennis Hunt, who is spending the summer assigned to Ames Nowell, has ordered and is posting new signs at trailheads and other high traffic spots to reinforce the ban.

New signs are up at Ames Nowell State Park reminding the public 4-wheelers and motorbikes aren’t allowed

Tobin said four wheelers and motor bikes cause a range of problems in state parks. The powerful wheels tear up the protective layer of compacted organic material known as the trail tread. When the tread is loosened, trails become less stable for hikers and more subject to erosion.

The vehicles have been known to crowd out hikers and bikers sharing the same trails. There’s also the noise.

“I go to woods to have some peace and quiet,” Tobin said. “That dirt bike whining a half mile away is disturbing my peace.”

Deep banks of kicked up gravel can be seen in spots along the roads under transmission lines. Riders have also started to illegally mark trees along trails with paint, an act known as blazing.

Motorized vehicles are allowed in certain state parks, including facilities in Freetown-Fall River and Foxboro-Wrentham.

Anyone who sees quads, motor bikes, or other motorized vehicles at Ames Nowell State Park can contact the state Environmental Police (800) 632-8075

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