Maine, the Pine Tree State, is the most northeastern state in the United States, often getting overlooked when it comes to off-roading trails. Even though approximately 90% privately owned, the Jeep and Off-Road trails in Maine offer a front-seat view to some of the most Majestic views the state’s natural bounty has to offer.
The best way to experience said natural beauty is driving along off-road trails with the Penobscot Valley 4 Wheel Drive, an off-roading club in Maine. It is undeniably one of the most active groups in the area, welcoming all Jeep and 4WD owners with open arms and an invite for adventure.
As it is with many off-roading clubs, PV4WD began with a group of friends. Members of another club based in the Southern Maine area, local friends (located in the Greater Bangor Maine area) found themselves creating a lot of the rides. This gave birth to the idea of them creating their own club.
The founder Trish Landry being the only woman in a group of rag-tag guys spearheaded this idea way back in 2008/2009. Being the only female in a group of all males, they did not believe she could do it. Within a month, Trish Landry had the website set up, planting the seeds of what would blossom into PV4WD.
The club shows true appreciation for the adventure and joy off-roading brings to its members and has since created a sense of community with various other local groups, clubs and organizations such as Crawl Zone 207, Lake Region Jeepers, Lady Jeepers of Maine, Back Country Coastal Division, and various others.
Today, the club prides itself on being a truly inclusive, family-oriented group of Jeepers. Two club members Richard Pare and Brenton Tyler made the following comments.
Richard Pare commented, “My wife and I have been members of the PV4WD club for 10 years. And age-wise I think we are among the oldest in the club. We couldn’t ask for a better group of people. Single individuals, married couples, families with children, and a wide variety of ages, all contribute to making this club very unique.”
Brenton Tyler from California commented: “I moved to Maine from California, and on my second day in the state, I was turning around a guy’s driveway. He told me about PV4DW. Despite being a weirdo from California who drives a **GASP** LAND ROVER!! I was accepted with open arms and only a few elbows to the ribs. I have been to the most epic places, like the top of Schoodic recently. The views have been absolutely insane, and the company is just as inspiring. From open shop days, to affirming private conversations with new friends, I am absolutely honored to be a part of this group.”
Off-Roading, Maine Style
PV4WD is quite active when it comes to rides. Once the mud season is over in Spring, the club holds weekly rides through the summer and fall season and occasionally in the winter for snow trailing.
Important: Because 90% of the trails are on private property you will need to ride with a club like PV4WD to be able to enjoy the beauty Maine has to offer. For more information about past and future ride “Click Here”
In addition to the weekly planned and unplanned rides, the club also engages in several annual rides, namely, Wilderness Walk for Warriors (supporting veterans, service members, and Maine’s fallen heroes), Wreaths Across America, the Blue Line Tour (supporting Blue/police), and Go Topless Day.
While all Jeep owners, 4WD owners, members, and non-members are welcome to join the rides, they do have to follow certain rules to make sure all riders are safe. This includes Drivers’ Meeting before every ride, yearly (or more) training sessions by the club or it’s sister clubs, associations with Tread Lightly, NOHVCC (National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council), Blue Ribbon Coalition, and MDIFW (Maine Department of Land Fisheries & Wildlife), and more.
Since all levels of riders are welcomed, PV4WD has also curated a scale that ranges from “stocker friendly” to “advanced – holy crap, what did I just do”. Class 1 is your regular dirt roads and easy trails; Class 2-4 are moderate with small rocks, off-camber; and Class 5-6 are challenging where you experience extreme elevation changes, off-camber, large rocks, and even requiring a winch or lockers.
The club’s goal is to support people’s interest and passion in off-roading across Maine’s Jeep trails with a group of people that are more like a family.
Trish Landry sums it up pretty well:
“Since the conception of the Club I have felt part of a bigger family; big brothers looking out for me, little sisters looking for advice, and the camaraderie of friends that want to help in any way they can.From family outings (including our 4 legged kids) to challenging rides for the pros, this group is more than a “CLUB” it’s a “FAMILY”! The closeness of this group has brought us all together. We have had marriages, babies, supported each other through breakups and even lost a few members to death. All these experiences have allowed us to become very close.”
In the Spirit of Giving Back
As you will notice, two of the four annual rides we mentioned above are in the spirit of giving back and supporting the community. But that’s not where PV4WD’s philanthropy and community service ends.
In addition to Wilderness Walk for Warriors and the Blue Line Tour, the club participates in Camp Capella’s Annual Polar Dip, which is a recreational and learning camp for people with disabilities. Besides sponsoring children, they do whatever they can to contribute.
The club also supports Bangor Humane Society, House in the Woods, and various other charities such as:
- DEEMI (Down East Emergency Medical Institute (Search and Rescue)
- Maine All Terrain Search and Rescue (MATSAR)
- Touch A Truck (Camp Capella)
- Wreaths Across America
- Maine Warrior Salute
- State of Maine Annual Landowner Clean Up
- Annual “Blue Line Tour” supporting the “Blue/Police”
- Wheels for Hope
The club’s strong values of supportive, safe, and ethical off-roading are made stronger with their environmental practices. They have a rule where the riders bring out more trash than they bring in.
PV4WD members also attend the annual State of Maine Landowner Appreciation Clean-Up Day and participate in Clean Up days to clear up the trails. All riders are advised to be respectful of the trails that allow them to seek their off-roading adventures. They adhere to that by accessing private trails (this makes up most of them as approximately 90% of Maine is privately owned) with permission, not altering the trail in any way, picking up trash, and volunteering to help fix any damage the trails may have sustained.
This off-roading club in Maine is a hidden treasure that one needs to experience on their trip to Maine. The values, attitude, and warmth each member has for their fellow Jeep enthusiasts are rare. Even just on the ride, you will experience a welcoming family enjoying the best Maine’s natural beauty has to offer.
Check out their Facebook page and website to keep a track of the next rides so you can join them and have your fill of Maine’s off-road adventures.
Great read. We are looking to move back to Maine and have been wheeling in California for about 2 years now. Glad to see there are some groups available.