To find existing clubs contact:
- ATV Coordinator by E-mail or call 888-386-3288 in state or (207) 287-4958 out of state.
- ATV Maine - The state association organized to represent Maine ATV clubs.
Start Your Own ATV Club
A practical guide to successful club development
It only takes one person to operate an ATV, but it’s certainly more fun when friends get together to ride. It is a lot easier to get out of those trouble spots when you have friends to give you a hand. The same thing applies when ATV owners work together in a club. Much can be accomplished through an organization when everyone takes an active part working together to make the club a success.
Why should I start or join an ATV club?
- To encourage a concern for the environment
- To encourage respect for public and private land
- To establish/develop places to ride
- To improve the image of ATVers
- To encourage the safe use of ATVs
- To organize and promote group ATV trips
- To promote the use of ATVs as a family sport
- To help local police/fire departments with emergency response
- To be eligible for help from the ATV Program
What is the ATV Program and how can it help?
The ATV Program is a part of the Off Road Vehicle Unit of the Division of Parks and Public Lands. In addition to providing a variety of information and technical assistance, we have the following resources available to help ATV clubs:
- Trail insurance providing liability protection for landowners and clubs with authorized ATV trails
- A trail grant program providing money to help defray the cost of trail development and maintenance
- Trail signs and guidelines for clubs to properly mark their trails so people will know where ATV use is authorized
Is there a cost to the clubs for these services?
No. The ATV Program is funded through a portion of the ATV registration fees and gas tax payments.
Is it hard to start an ATV Club?
No, however it does require work. You will need to gather a group of interested people together, organize yourselves and complete the necessary paperwork.
How many people does it take to start a club?
While there is no set number needed to establish a club, you should have a nucleus of at least a half dozen interested persons. It is important to remember the old saying: “Many hands make light work”.
How do I get started?
Once you have secured the interest and support of a nucleus of people who are willing to actively take part in the development of a local club, you should hold an informational meeting. Many times your local school, fire department, town hall or community center will allow free use of their facilities for nonprofit groups. At this meeting discuss and determine the purposes of the club and the reasons for its formation. Write down the specific objectives of the club. It’s important to get input from everyone. At this pre-organizational meeting, determine when and where the first public meeting will be held. Also, decide the method to be used in notifying potential club members, i.e. word of mouth, phone calls, fliers, public service announcements, mailings, etc. (The ATV Program can supply lists of registered ATV owners in your area.)
How should the first public meeting be run?
- Inform those in attendance of the background activity which led to this meeting.
- Elect a temporary chairperson to preside over the meeting.
- Take a vote of those present to determine if they are in agreement that an ATV Club should be formed in the area or town.
- Ask for suggestions regarding the election of necessary officers. We would recommend the following: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. There should also be a Board of Directors (usually seven or nine people), which should include the elected officers.
- After the above steps have been taken, elect the slate of officers decided upon by the group. Take nominations from the floor and vote separately on each candidate for each office. It is not necessary to elect the entire Board of Directors at this initial meeting. It might be advisable to wait until the next meeting and in the meantime get the names of persons interested in being a Director who were unable to attend the first meeting.
- You can decide on a club name. The name could reflect the spirit of your organization, the geographical area or many other factors. You should avoid names that landowners may find offensive or suggest improper use such as “Mud Slingers”. It is not wise to use the brand name of a machine in the club name as this could hinder prospective members who own a different brand. Be sure to pick a club name that hasn’t already been used. A current ATV club list is available from the ATV Program.
- A By-laws Committee should be either appointed by the President or elected by the group at the first meeting. The ATV Program has sample by-laws available upon request. Committee members should review and make changes to adapt the by-laws to your particular group. Ideally revisions can be completed and distributed at the second meeting. By-laws need to be approved by the membership.
- Some suggestions for additional committees your group may want to appoint are as follows: Membership, Legislative, Entertainment, Special Events & Publicity.
- Agree on the frequency of meetings. You should consider meeting once a month. Some clubs even meet twice a month, but you must be careful to avoid burnout resulting from too many meetings. Club dinners are a good way to keep the membership interested. You may want to suspend meetings during the winter months or meet only informally to discuss plans for the coming season.
- A determination should be made regarding club dues. The amount clubs charge varies depending upon the size of the group and the extent of the intended activities, etc. You should also discuss the benefits of affiliation with the statewide group and it's cost before deciding on your dues structure.
- After this “business” is concluded you should open the meeting for general discussion. Topics for discussion typically include possible club-sponsored activities such as rides, cookouts, community projects, development of a trails system and development of a safety education program.
All clubs must have a Federal ID number to receive grant money or conduct business. Complete an SS-4 form. The form can be obtained by calling 1-800-829-3676. (One is included in the ATV "start-up" packet.)
Once you have the form completed, call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933 and they will assign a number over the phone. Write this number on the upper right hand corner of the form and retain it for your records. If you prefer you can mail or Fax the completed SS-4 form to IRS and they will issue a number and send the number to you in the mail. (This process can take 4 weeks.) Their fax number is: 631-447-8960.
SS-4 Line 5a, Street address is the: Physical location of club
SS-4 Line 8a, type of entity is: other - ATV Club
SS-4 Line 14, principal activity of business is: Non-Profit
SS-4 Line 15, service provided is: Recreational Club
Once you have the club's Federal ID number, register your club with the ATV Program by completing both sides of the Annual Club Update form*. It should be mailed to the ATV Program. This will make your club eligible for the resources available from the ATV Program.
Does the club have to be incorporated?
Yes, clubs have to be incorporated in order to receive grant money. An incorporated club has limited liability that protects its members from being personally responsible for the debts or activities of the club. It also has a separate legal existence and as a result, can exercise most of the powers that are available to individual persons. The club can own property, contract mortgages and remains in existence regardless of what happens to individual members. Contact the Secretary of State, Bureau of Corporations and Elections at 207-624-7752 for more information on becoming incorporated (non-profit) and an application for non-profit Articles of Incorporation. The application is also available on their web
site: Division of Corporations.
Remember to Ask First!
Do you know who owns the land you ride on?
Please only ride where landowners allow!
Published under appropriation 014-04A-8340-83