Land Access Debate 

Maine’s time-honored tradition of allowing recreational access to private land may be in jeopardy, in part because of abuses that test the limits of landowner hospitality.

Dale Tarbox had been harboring doubts about whether to continue to allow the public to use a dirt road and trail across his land in North Waterboro for launching watercraft into the clear water of Isinglass Pond.

That’s because people had been using his property as a dumping ground, leaving discarded roofing shingles, empty beer cans, the carcass of a dead skunk and even a hot tub.

Such abuses are putting pressure on the tradition of allowing recreational access. Other factors coming into play include subdivisions of land and growing populations in rural areas.

Tarbox wants to keep his property open, and the state is doing its best to help him. Maine’s director of landowner relations arranged for a local ATV club to remove the hot tub from his land.