ATVers say trail system, stricter enforcement better than ban of machines on state forest land

May 20, 2019 07:37 PM

HORICON - A coalition of enviromental groups wants to ban ATVs from public forest preserve in the Adirondacks and Catskills. They offer pictures of damage they say is being caused by the machines on environmentally sensitive lands.

Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan says, "ATVs do an awful lot of damage and that damage lasts for a long, long time."


Many Adirondackers say a ban goes too far.

They say what's needed is better enforcement of people who drive their machines on the forest preserve.

The Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board analyzed a year's worth of law enforcement records (May 2018-May 2019) as they relate to ATV use in the Adirondacks.

"There was two tickets written for the incursion onto the forest preserve in that whole year," said Jerry Delaney, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board.

Delaney says the state needs an ATV trail network, not a ban.

"We are all supportive that these trails have to be on environmentally sound, stable places to mitigate any damage done," Delaney said Monday. "Find the right places for them and let's use them there."

Many ATVers say a ban didn't make sense when it was first proposed 10 years ago and doesn't make sense now.

"It's a family sport. A lot of people enjoy it with their kids, friends and family. It creates a lot of business for our area and if we manage it it wouldn't be that much of an environmental impact," said Antony Lashway of Brant Lake.

However, those pushing for a ban, including Sheehan, dispute that ATVs do much for the area economy.

"And the damage they do does not account for the money they're leaving behind."

The Adirondack Council and other groups are also pushing for a law that would raise the minimum age for ATV operators from 10 years to 16 years.


Mark Mulholland

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