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
- 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
- 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
- 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
What paperwork is required?
- 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
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.
*Annual Club Update form can be obtained from the ATV Program or by clicking here Annual Club Update Form
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
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