Moosestompers, Biathalon and Ice Fishing……Does It Get Any Better Than This ???

While the whole northeast is in a deep freeze, things are heating up for folks in The County ……. groomers are out and the trail system is better than ever, the lakes are freezing up and getting ready for the Long Lake Fishing Derby January 25 and 26 and the Nordic ski crowd is gearing up for the Caribou Downtown Ski Festival February 8 & 9, families are prepping for the Moosestompers Festival in Houlton February 14-16 and of course one of the biggest events, the Youth/Junior World Championship Biathalon Competition February 28-March 7 at the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle.   So although  the snowmobiling  system is one of the best riding systems in North America, we want to remind everyone that the trail system can also be your route to some awesome activities  beyond the trail.

For me the fun of winter is seeing the folks from all over the country that come to The County.   Imagine driving 16 hours with a truck and trailer to ride snowmobile for  two days???   Well folks from as far away as Pennsylvania do that while others store their sleds here and fly back and forth three or four weekends during the season.   Why…….well it is the hospitality of The County……if you haven’t experienced it you should……if you have well then you get it.    So if you’re wondering what you might want to do during the winter months……..come to The County…….it truly is the way life should be!!!!

Ok……so now I guess have to get to my real purpose which is of course the trail report…….so here goes…

 CAUTIONARY NOTES

  • Lakes are still a bit slushy so sledders should use extreme caution.
  • Remember ITS 85 is closed north of Wallagrass and ITS 120 is closed from Pushneer Pond west to ITS 92
  • And speaking of reroutes, there have been a number of them so pay attention and follow the signs.
  • Keep in mind that there are some long distances between gas stations so look at the reroutes and plan accordingly
  • MOOSE & DEER ALERT  Cute critters but they are out everywhere.  Most all projects are reporting critters in the trail.    Be especially careful on ITS 88 on the Presque Isle end where a young moose has been hanging out.

 Trail Info

!ITS 85    Groomed from Shin Pond north to Ox Bow however Ashland has been unable to get out due to a groomer breakdown.   Moving north Portage and Eagle Lake have been out however the trail is closed for a couple of weeks north of Wallagrass to Carter Brook due to a logging operation.   Remember Portage has done a big reroute……nice section of trail and still only 2.3 miles longer !

!ITS  83    The Molunkus Club has worked to complete a reroute so ITS 83 between Sherman and Benedicta is now open and will run with ITS 81 for about 1 mile.  The Smoki Haulers are noting that from Linneus to Dyer Brook there are THREE ACTIVE LOGGING OPS so sledders will have to use caution.   From there on there is clear sailing all the way north to the St John Valley

!ITS 81    Moving east from ITS 85 there is a section not open due to a reroute still being worked out.   From Squa Pan towards Mars Hill has been groomed to the ITS 83 intersection.  Moving north everyone has been out however please note there is a logging operation on the Limestone section of the border that has logging USE EXTREME CAUTION.  Grand Isle has been out along with Madawaska and Frenchville north.

ITS 92   Is groomed and open from Madawaska , Frenchville, Ft Kent, St Francis to Allagash where it ends, however there is a nice trail that loops Glazier Lake that is open and groomed.  92A out of St Francis to Carter Brook is closed until the end of January or mid February due to logging.

ITS 90    Portage has been out along with Caribou who has a new bridge across Salmon Brook at the 105/90 intersection.  Heading east Ft Fairfield has been out and is just noting to watch for deer in the wooded sections on that end.

!ITS 88 Remember there is a reroute on the section in Ft Fairfield so watch for signage.   Moving east the trail has been groomed by Presque Isle and Aroostook River but there is no access yet from Ashland due to a groomer breakdown. They hope to be up and running maybe by the weekend, if not the first of  next week.    

ITS 86   Houlton has 86 opened east and west to the St Croix area and Ox Bow has been out as well.  Remember to watch for signage…..and maybe bring some extra gas to assure a safe trip!

ITS 105   is opened and groomed through to the ITS 81 intersection but folks should check locally from there.

!ITS 120  is groomed to Pushneer Pond from ITS 85 however they are working out a reroute on the Debouille end so be patient and please stay clear in that area due to logging we will get the news out about the reroute as soon as it is ready.

Rt 100     has been rerouted however due to logging it will be closed off for a while so there is no access to 89 nor 94 from Caswell but it is open east to 81 from Caswell along with 100A

Rt 89  between ITS 83/90 in Caribou north to Rt 94 is not open yet

Rt 94 Van Buren is working to run on the bank through a logging op so watch for signs and PLEASE stay off the road.

Daigle and Soldier Pond have their systems open and in good shape but  Rt 73B between Ft Kent and the 83B intersection in Daigle is closed so use 73C to get into Ft Kent.

Connector 61 is groomed from the ITS- 83 intersection on Sam Drew Mt in Oakfield to the Railroad crossing near the Oakfield- Smyrna town line. 

From the Oakfield/Smyrna line north to the intersection with Trail 81, Trail 61 has been packed but not groomed.

The 1/2 mile section of Trail 61 that uses the Brown Rd in Oakfield has been plowed and is currently being used by logging trucks. This is a very narrowly plowed road and extreme caution is necessary.

Trail 64 on the Smoki Haulers end has been groomed

From Shin Pond

ITS 114/85S to Whetstone has been groomed, there is some rerouting on this trail so use caution. ITS 85 to Bowlin Camps, Matagamon and onto Shin Pond is groomed. 71D is done only to Cunningham Lookout, the rest of the trail will be opened by Sunday (and there is re routing on this trail also) ITS 85 N to Oxbow has been groomed by Patten and Oxbow Clubs but there is also rerouting on this trail, it will now come into ITS86 and then back into Oxbow. So please know where you are going,  ask questions,  and use caution with this early season riding!

ON THE SOCIAL SIDE

Meduxneakeag Ramblers Saturday breakfasts beginning January 4 from 6-9 a.m.

Washburn Trail Runners Saturday and Sunday breakfast and lunch starting January 4

Presque Isle Snowmobile Club Stew Nights Friday night 5-??

Jan 19    Portage Lakers Radar Runs   Registration starts at 9 a.m.

January 25 and 26   Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby

Feb 8-9   Caribou Downtown Ski Festival

Feb  14-16           Moosestompers Festival  Houlton

Feb  15     Portage Lakers Pie Auction  7 p.m.

Feb 28- Mar 7    Youth/Junior World Championship Biathalon   Nordic Heritage Center, Presque Isle

 

 

 

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Kathy Mazzuchelli

About Kathy Mazzuchelli

Kathy Mazzuchelli is superintendant of the Caribou Parks and Recreation Department where she has worked for 38 years. An avid snowmobiler, Mazzuchelli’s first sled was a 1968 Polaris Mustang back in the days when groomed trails were done with snowmobiles, bedsprings and some pretty feisty folks.