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Forest Service Warns Against “Mudding” on Private Forest Roads 

Mud season is a rite of spring in Maine.But Forest Rangers say this year, some truck drivers are enjoying the season a little too much…and destroying roads in the process.Amy Erickson has more.<"in the spring, people like to get out and about because they have cabin fever. Unfortunately, April's not the time to be going out there."John Bryant's company, American Forest Management, oversees more than a million acres of land in Maine.He's seen firsthand the damage being done this spring by people out 'mudding' in their trucks on privately-owned forest roads.Bryant is working with the Maine Forest Service to get the word out that this kind of activity is more than just disrespectful and damaging...it's illegal...and could result in a summons...or a stiff fine."up to 500 dollars. You could get jail time up to a year."Kent Nelson is the Forest Service's Fire Prevention Specialist.He says the beat-up roads are making things difficult for his crews to get to fire scenes in a hurry."we've had trouble getting to some of these roads because they're so rutted.""it's very difficult to access in the event of a wildfire."Nelson says the damage also threatens wildlife habitats and water quality...and many local landowners find themselves facing steep bills to repair the damage done by these 'joyrides.'"to correct the damage caused by these people who mud on these roads, landowners often have to pay contractors up to $200 an hour for special equipment to repair these roads.""if they want to do this mudding, they can do it on their own land.""in another 2 weeks or so, when things dry out, it's a whole different story, but there's just this time period right now that things are a little muddy in the woods that we want to avoid that type of vehicle use."Bryant worries that if folks don't smarten up...they could start losing access to one of Maine's greatest resources."i think this hurts - potentially - all users. All fishermen, hunters, all people who like to recreate on private lands. Because as time goes on, landowners will restrict access if this continues."Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Old Town.>