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With 21 million acres of forested land, Maine is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy riding ATVs, off-road motorcycles and snowmobiles, or camping in trailers, RVs and motorhomes.
Outdoor recreation also is a big industry in Maine, and the state has detailed rules on operating off-road vehicles. Both residents and nonresidents are required to register ATVs, off-road motorcycles, and snowmobiles with the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department. Residents also need to register their trailers and camper trailers with the BMV.
Anyone who plans to camp or ride off-road vehicles in Maine needs to make sure the land is open to the public. Much of Maine's undeveloped wilderness is in private hands, so visitors need the landowner's permission unless the property has designated trails and is posted for public use.
ATV and snowmobile registrations are valid from July 1 until June 30 of the following year.
The IF&W discourages owners from registering or renewing too early. Applications submitted before May 1 expires June 30 of the same year. Applications submitted after May 1 will expire June 30 of the following year.
You will need to visit a designated agent to register your ATV or snowmobile. You also can phone the IF&W at (207) 287-8000.
There are dozens of designated agents in Maine.
You must provide the vehicle's serial number, make, year, and bill of sale. If the previous owner had a registration certificate, take it with you.
The fee is $34 for ATVs and $41 for snowmobiles for residents. New vehicle owners are charged a 5.5% sales tax, if the dealer wasn't paid. You cannot register online.
To renew your registration, you can go online, visit a designated agent.
The quickest way to renew is renew online.
With online renewals, you do not get a temporary registration to print out because the IF&W must verify the information. You will be asked to type in the vehicle type, registration number, make, year, serial number, and color. Your new registration stickers will be mailed to you in about a week.
If you're a non-resident, you can register a vehicle or renew a registration online.
The fee to register an ATV or renew an ATV registration is $69, which includes a handling fee. The registration is good for one year. Registrations are valid from July 1 until June 30 of the following year.
For more information call (207) 287-8000.
You can wait until you visit Maine to renew your registration and get your stickers. You just need to visit a designated agent. It is best to review a list of agents before your trip to locate one where you plan to stay.
Non-residents can register their snowmobiles online or through an agent. There is a fee scale for registering snowmobiles. A seasonal registration is $89.
Non-residents also can register snowmobiles through an agent when they come to Maine. It is a good idea to review a list of agents before your trip to locate one in the area you plan to visit.
Maine has more than 4,000 miles of open ATV trails, and many operators join clubs for the latest news on new routes and where to ride. ATV drivers cannot ride on snowmobile trails unless they are designated for dual use. You can recognize ATV trails by posted signs. The ATV signs are green and white, with an ATV symbol in the middle.
Driving ATVs on public roads is against the law, but there are exceptions. Some towns open access to ATV drivers on certain roads and will post signs for travel on the extreme right of way.
Young drivers between 10 and 16 years old are required to take an ATV safety course.
If you violate ATV laws, you may be fined and lose your hunting, trapping, guiding, or fishing licenses.
Maine has 13,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, making it a popular destination point for outdoor enthusiasts from across the nation. Once you register your snowmobile, you have access to all Maine's posted trails.
With so many places to ride, Maine authorities expect drivers to stay away from private homes, hospitals, nursing homes, and churches. You cannot drive along, or next to, railroad tracks.
Sleds must stay off public roads other than to cross them, unless they are posted for snowmobile use. Some rural towns allow snowmobiles on certain roads, allowing drivers access to gas stations and restaurants. Stay to the extreme right of the road.
There are no speed limits on Maine trails. Sledders are expected to show reasonable judgment, based on weather and trail conditions as well as trail use. It is against the law to drive a snowmobile in a reckless manner that endangers other people or damages property. Violators face fines.
Off-road motorcycles are considered ATVs in Maine. You must follow the same rules as you would for registering and operating ATVs. You can register your dual sport motorcycle as an ATV unless it already is registered as a motorcycle.
Maine residents must register the trailers used to tow ATVs and snowmobiles. Registrations are good for one or two years. They can be handled at a BMV branch office or most municipal offices.
The documents you need to show for a new trailer bought from a dealer are the green dealer's certificate and blue title application.
The documents you need to show from a private sale are a signed bill of sale and the title.
If you are renewing a registration online, your certificate should arrive by mail in seven business days.
The online Rapid Renewal Service for Trailers is only for utility trailers, ATV trailers, snowmobile trailers, boat trailers, and semi-trailers. The service is not available to camper trailers.
The following are the fees for registering trailers:
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- $12.50 for 1 year or $24 for 2 years: trailers under 2,000 pounds.
- $22.00 for 1 year or $43 for 2 years: trailers over 2,000 pounds.
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