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- Land Usage
The following is a link for the information and procedure for incorporating in the state of Massachusetts. We strongly advise contacting the Attorney General’s office directly if you have any questions about the process. The ‘FAQs about Charitable Organizations’ is a good place to start.
File Attachment: MALaws.pdf
We have all experienced trail closures before. The recent events at Coy Hill in Ware and West Brookfield have greatly impacted the wheeling community here in Massachusetts . This is due to its location, convenience to the Boston area, metro west, and central Mass enthusiasts and its relatively mild nature for the inexperienced wheeler. Every year, new enthusiasts are hitting the roads and looking for areas like Coy Hill to recreate on.
Coy Hill consists of two old town roads and the main attraction being an old power line trail that traverses a Wildlife Management Area. Off-road enthusiasts were given verbal permission from the local environmental authorities to drive the power line as long as they did not stray from the existing trail. The off-road community was able to use the area for many years, staying on the trail and conducting cleanups in an effort to demonstrate their responsible nature and ability to maintain the areas they use. The last several years have seen an exponential increase in the number of enthusiasts and unfortunately, those who recreate too frequently at the same area. We call these enthusiasts, “Locusts”.
Coy Hill was severely overused and eventually abused by those who felt the need to stray from the trail and create their own path. Trail cutting and damage to private abutters property and areas of the Wildlife Management Area, caused the environmental authorities to close access to the power line trail. The result of these actions prompted quick response by the organized off-road community to try and correct the problem. I met with local landowners and the Ware Conservation Commission to assess the damage and try to offer possible solutions to the illegal activities. Pat Charron, Rich Banfield, and myself attended several Ware selectmen’s meetings to better our group’s relations with the town. We were also able to meet and possibly recruit several local enthusiasts who did not belong to an organized club. In an effort to better organize ourselves, an online forum called Friends of Coy Hill (FOCH) was formed. The forum is a collaboration of member clubs from the Northeast Association of 4WD Clubs, East Coast Four Wheel Drive Association, individual enthusiasts, landowners, town authorities, and anyone willing to positively contribute.
We have made good progress in our relations with the town. They understand our willingness to help and the pride that we take in our sport. They also know about and appreciate the past cleanups we have done in the area. One member of the FOCH forum, Mike Belben, conducted a toy drive to supplement the Town of Ware’s drive. Mike was able to collect many toys and $1100.00 in donations. This effort was greatly appreciated and demonstrated the integrity and charity of the members of our group.
Hopefully soon, we anticipate setting a date to start repairing and cleaning the necessary areas at Coy Hill. The early snow fall and conservation concerns slowed our initial response to the damage. In the near future, there will be several Ware selectmen’s meetings to discuss the town’s option of closing the area roads. I have been invited to attend these meetings by the Conservation Commission Chair. My initial feelings from the meetings I have attended so far, is that the landowners do not want to close the roads. In an act of good faith to prove our resolve, I have asked all organized clubs to avoid the area for the time being. This includes the old town roads that traverse the area. I believe this is a small compromise in the larger goal of regaining access to all areas.
Please visit and sign up on the Friends of Coy Hill forum at http://www.friendsofcoyhill.org/forums/index.php. Positive contributions will be greatly appreciated. Personally, I would like to thank members of both the NEA4WDC and EC4WDA on coming together for a common goal.
Joe Ostrenga , Project Manager
Friends of Coy Hill
Baystate Jeepers Inc.
Northeast Jeep Organization Inc.
In an effort to support the Friends of Coy Hill Coalition and to eliminate a repeat of recent events in Coy Hill, the BOD of the Northeast Association of 4WD Clubs recently published the following statement to all of their member clubs: “Due to increased misuse and abuse of the Coy Hill area, the NEA4WDC and EC4WDA are working together in a joint effort to restore credibility to those engaged in responsible off-road recreation. This joint effort has imposed a “NO GO” policy on this area.
“Until further notice, any event to be scheduled at Coy Hill such as trail rides, clean-ups, and maintenance days by Member Clubs of the Northeast Association of 4WD Clubs Inc. (NEA4WDC), whether acting as individuals or as a group, must be approved in writing (electronic communication is acceptable) by the current Project Manager of “The Friends of Coy Hill” Coalition. Any Member Clubs, whether acting as individuals or as a group, who hold any event as listed above without receiving express written approval from the Project Manager will immediately be placed on a Probationary Status pending executive review by the NEA4WDC of the Member Club.”
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