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EDITORIAL: Keep ATVs off town's roads

2012-07-26T22:03:00Z 2012-07-30T09:27:24Z EDITORIAL: Keep ATVs off town's roads Glens Falls Post-Star
July 26, 2012 10:03 pm

If you own an all-terrain vehicle, but not your own private forest, you’ve got a problem.

ATVs are not allowed on the public roads, in most places. ATVs are banned from the state-owned Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks. And lots of people don’t want ATVs on their private property, because they’re loud, the knobby tires dig up the ground and too many ATV riders get thrown off their machines and end up hurt.

You can drive your ATV around and around your house at top speed four or five hours a day, but as much as your neighbors might enjoy this, it could get tiresome seeing the same scenery all the time.

ATVs have their uses on farms and woodlots and other large plots of private land. And ATVs can be fun, if you aren’t concerned about the way they tear up the earth, or the possibility of breaking your neck.

But ATVs are not suitable for use on public highways or in public woods, and we encourage town officials in Johnsburg to resist any efforts to open local roads to the machines.

The Town Board voted recently to hold a public hearing on a proposal that would make it possible to open stretches of town roads to ATVs for the purpose of connecting private ATV trail systems.

Since many miles of Johnsburg’s public highways are dirt roads, ATV riders could see the town as a potential playground. Indeed, local people say the roads are often used now, illegally, by ATV riders.

The problem is, if the town designates certain stretches of public road as connectors between ATV trails, policing those stretches will become an impossible task. What is to stop ATV riders from zooming around on the roads then claiming, if stopped, they were on their way to a trail?

Johnsburg’s highway superintendent, Dan Hitchcock, says ATVs could damage the roads, making his already-challenging job that much more difficult.

We believe him. The public roads in Johnsburg should be reserved for the use of legal, roadworthy vehicles. ATVs are an unpredictable presence on the highway — sometimes traveling slower than the flow of traffic but too wide to pass easily, even when they’re driving on the shoulder. And the vehicles can lack basic safety equipment, like rear-view mirrors.

ATV owners complain they’re paying state registration fees but are denied the benefit of using the public roads or the woods that other vehicle owners receive. They have a point. But the proper solution would be for state officials to cut the cost of ATV registration, not open the roads or the woods to them.

In the end, the Johnsburg Town Board has the authority to open town roads to ATVs, if that is what local people want. In Lewis County, many miles of roads have been opened to riders so they can access hundreds of miles of ATV trails, most of them running through county-owned forestland.

Lewis County has used the trails as a boost for its economy, drawing riders from around the region, and if the people of Johnsburg want something similar, it would only be right for the Town Board to support it.

But from what we’ve seen and heard, many people in Johnsburg oppose marketing the town to ATV riders, and if that proves true in the public hearing, the board should vote down any proposal to allow them on the roads.

Local editorials represent the opinion of The Post-Star editorial board, which consists of Publisher Rick Emanuel, Editor Ken Tingley, Projects Editor Will Doolittle and citizen representative Mark Bergman.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(23) Comments

  1. derringer
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    derringer - July 31, 2012 7:15 am
    We're not talking about heading to Albany here genius! What are you even talking about here? I suggest you stop whining, get on an ATV and have a st$%load of fun...ever try that?
  2. derringer
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    derringer - July 31, 2012 7:12 am
    What a negative friggin article against ATV'S. Don't point out any positives for our community like family fun and a boost in the local economy! There are negatives that come with any outdoor activity, it just so happens that whoever wrote this article was focused on NEGATIVITY! Do some research in other states where atv'ing has been balanced and has actually become an asset. I am so glad I have places to ride. I am a part of three atv clubs that would even welcome people like the TOOL(S) that wrote this article. There's the difference between how atvers think and TOOLS! The earth heals itself pretty well, having logged in areas in the past and then gone back five or ten years later and seeing the proof. I can't believe road damage, noise and accidents are even mentioned, what a grasp at straws. Look at the stats, they are nil. Does anyone remember VT using atv's after Irene? ATV's saved the day for many. The complainers obviously have never seen a childs smile after a day of riding.
  3. OHV forever
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    OHV forever - July 29, 2012 5:25 pm
    Lgtaz5
    here is just a few of the uses of these thing
    Lewis County ATV The Lewis County ATV SAR unit came on board with the LCSAR council in 1992.

    New York State Forest Rangers Regardless of weather, forest rangers patrol 5.0 million acres of Department-administered public lands and easements by vehicle, boat, ATV, snowmobile, aircraft, bicycle, foot, skis or snowshoes.

    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Motorized off road enforcement unit. This unit uses ATV to patrol state land.

    National Grid patrols there power line right always with ATV

    If the guy in your neighborhood is doing every thing you say call the local police instead of taking it out on all the ATV'ers. I'm sick of all the DWI in the paper and the news not to mention see how many they kill but you don't see me saying banned all Motorized Vehicles from the roads. I say if they get one DWI then they should lose the right to drive
  4. OHV forever
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    OHV forever - July 28, 2012 8:24 pm
    justanotherNYer
    Myself and and 4 of my neighbors have ATVs and even Side X Sides and between the 4 of us we have close to 80 acres of land that we ride and their is not just four of us riding there my family has 7 machine one has 3 and the other 2 have 2 each so that put 14 machine on these trails just in case you cant count and these trail are in great shape pulse we know there is others out their using them because we hear them but as long as we don't have to clean up garbage we don't care. We us to have a few Mountain biker out there but we got fed up with picking up water and gator-ad bottles so we ran them off. OOO and buy the way I do have a nickle invested because it Mines and everyone else tax dollar that pay's for these lands and if the state did what it was suppose to do with the registration money they charge us to be able to own a ATV the founds would be there for the upkeep of the trail system
  5. OHV forever
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    OHV forever - July 28, 2012 8:08 pm
    New York Just needs to wake up along with a lot of people. OHV vehicles are here to stay ( ATV, Side X Sides, Dirt Bikes Ect) and there is so much that the state can take advantage of with this being know. The state could gain so much if they would just adopt a OHV Trail System Tourism, Economic Impact, Job’s, Tax Revenue and more. Take a look at the HatField McCoy trail system in West Virginia http://www.trailsheaven.com/shared/content/pdfs/Hatfield%20McCoy%20Study%2010-06%20final%20for%20printing.pdf
    Or at the state of Maine http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/programs/ATV/atv.html

  6. OHV forever
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    OHV forever - July 28, 2012 7:47 pm
    Lewis County ATV The Lewis County ATV SAR unit came on board with the LCSAR council in 1992. The unit has approximately sixteen members who operate and maintain their own ATVs. The units primary mission is to provide All Terrain Vehicles to be used in SAR.

    New York State Forest Rangers Regardless of weather, forest rangers patrol 5.0 million acres of Department-administered public lands and easements by vehicle, boat, ATV, snowmobile, aircraft, bicycle, foot, skis or snowshoes.

    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Motorized off road enforcement unit. This unit uses ATV to patrol state land. The best part of this is they are out there on state land patrolling for illegal ATV use why because ATV are banded from all state land HUM

    National Grid patrols there power line right always with ATV

    SO if ATVs are so bad for the Environment and so dangerous why do all of the above use them?

  7. patcher
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    patcher - July 28, 2012 9:07 am
    The people that write these articles should take their heads out of the sand and travel to the UP of Michigan and witness the money being made from responsible ATV owners riding great recreational trails provided by a forward looking state. New York, with all it's far left tree huggers, will continue to travel the path of financial destruction because of our uninformed leaders who have absolutely no common sense.
  8. loneoak
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    loneoak - July 28, 2012 8:43 am
    How about boat owners who don't have a lake or jet skiers who don't have a river or snowmobilers who dont have a farm? How about all those hikers who leave trash in the woods and the list goes on, If you own land you do not have to allow someone to ride on it.
  9. cadman
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    cadman - July 28, 2012 8:15 am
    I have read all previous post and for the most part all have some good points with the exception of a couple of which I'm sure the writers are some old crotchety person who hates their life. With that said, I own a atv, it is registered, and I use it for recreation. I am disabled in that I lost both legs due to a job-related accident. I am also an avid hunter and this is were the recreation part of my riding comes to play. Although I try to do most of my hunting from my wheelchair, there are just some places I cannot go in it so I use my atv. I have had the opportunity to do some trail riding with it and between myself and the others that I rode with were doing so for one reason, to enjoy the scenary, just like the hikes, bikers, horseback riders and snowmobilers. We did not tear up the trails or the yards we were allowed to cross due to the simple fact that we respected the landowners property. Yes, an argument could be made as that there are bad apples out there
  10. justanotherNYer
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    justanotherNYer - July 28, 2012 6:43 am
    It would be interesting to know how many people that are "PRO ATV" and ready to argue to the end of time how safe they are, how little damage they do and how quiet they are actually have their own property to drive them instead of tearing up public or private properties that they don't have nickel invested in. The point was brought up about the trailering of ATVs and just about every one you see is either from out of the area or out of state.This is evidence that the owners/operators of these machines are leaving their homes to transport them to tear up someone else's land not their own. It is a good bet these transients do not own or pay taxes on enough land for their toys but must transport them to another area to have their fun at someone else's expense. There are many ATVs being operated where I live which are comprised of public and private roads.You would be surprised the numbers that have no license plate on them. To me this means no registration, no insurance,no accountability.
  11. Lgraz5
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    Lgraz5 - July 27, 2012 11:01 pm
    These motorized abominations should be banned completely. They are noisy, destructive and unnecessary. They don't serve any useful purpose that I can see. The idiot who does laps around our neighborhood would obviously disagree, but aside from wasting gasoline, I'm not sure what his purpose is. Seriously though, abusers like the aforementioned idiot make all ATV riders look bad. At this point, I am so sick of dodging this guy on the road that I wouldn't care if I never saw another ATV.
  12. OHV forever
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    OHV forever - July 27, 2012 9:57 pm
    then there is the economic impact that these trail will bring into the state and the communities that these trail pass though again look at VT, Mass, Maine, and let not forget West Virginia' and even right here in the tug hill area. I know riders are going to break laws again gust what that happen on a bunch of thing go out and buy yourself a scanner and listen to it one night for all the Motor vehicle traffic stops once again the government and some people are accusing all for some because no matter what kind of user group it is there is bad among them all why punish all because of the 10%ers. Here ideal let once again get that scanner out and listen to it and write down ever traffic stop you hear and at the end of the night take every road that had more than one stop on it close it down and see what you end up with there is 1.9 million ATV with in our state so come on New York get with the times ATV will not go away but a whole lot of money is going into other states
  13. OHV forever
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    OHV forever - July 27, 2012 9:57 pm
    This debate can go on forever but why. There is no reason for it other than people don’t look into thing for themselves before they speak or write articles if you want to talk , write about something you should research it to find out the truth about rather than just go on what someone else said.
    The things I see hear is. Does ATV belong on roads or on public land some say yes some say now well your both right to a point because there is roads and public land area where ATVs should never touch but then there is roads and public land area that ATVs could use without any issues at all. I know what you’re saying that I am wrong because ATV cause erosion well guesses what if anything other than dirt touches dirt it going to cause erosion but if done right erosion can be controlled and there a ton of places out there that have proving that Like VT with it State wide ATV trial System, Mass with trails, Maine and their system
  14. OHV forever
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    OHV forever - July 27, 2012 9:42 pm
    This debate can go on forever but why. There is no reason for it other than people don’t look into thing for themselves before they speak or write articles if you want to talk , write about something you should research it to find out the truth about rather than just go on what someone else said.

    The things I’m see hear is does ATV belong on roads or on public land so say yes some say now well your both right to a point because there is roads and public land area where ATVs should never touch but then there is roads and public land area that ATVs could use without any issues at all. I know what you’re saying that I am wrong because ATV cause erosion well guesses what if anything other than dirt touches dirt it going to cause erosion but if done right erosion can be controlled and there a ton of places out there that have proving that Like VT with it State wide ATV trial System, Mass with trails, Maine and their systems and then there is the economic impact that these trail will bring
  15. Mike in Qsby
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    Mike in Qsby - July 27, 2012 9:13 pm
    I don't own a ATV, but have many opinions on the subject. The state charging a registration for a vehicle that cant be driven on roads or in the woods is just a way to take more money from you. I have family in Lewis County and travel there alot, for the state or local gov't to complain of damage to the roads or woods from ATVs but ignore the fact that snowmobile damage the blacktop on EVERY road crossing. The roads all up route 28 and route 12 have damage from the snowmobiles crossing the roads. Our taxes pay for those damaged roads and to groom the public trails. I'm not against snowmobiles but I think it should be available to the ATVs also. . The ATV owners are tax payers and pay registration fees so its time to demand a right for what they pay for. If I remember correctly, a private citizen owning THEIR property wanted to open a riding area in the town of Johnsburg was turned down, but now there is a chance of opening up public roads to ATV
  16. Why new york
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    Why new york - July 27, 2012 8:00 pm
    sevenkitties
    I think you should wake up NO atv can not just go find a mountain to ride on and yes your right Skiers can so can Hikers Mountain biker and horseback riders and why is that because they can use all state land DEC or Forest with out having to buy a permit or registering there skies,bike or horse I can't even mow my lawn with my ATV with out it being registered

    Sevenkitties if your going to state or quote a law you should know it first

    As per NYS VT Law Article 48-C Section 2410
    § 2410. Operation by minors. 1. Except as provided by subdivision two
    of this section, no person under the age of sixteen years shall operate
    an ATV except upon lands owned or leased by his parent or guardian,
    unless he is under general supervision of a person eighteen years of age
    or over or a person sixteen years of age or over who holds an ATV safety
    certificate. "Leased lands" as herein used shall not include lands
    leased by an organization of which said opera
  17. Why new york
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    Why new york - July 27, 2012 6:25 pm
    This stuff is getting old New York you and a lot of people need to wake up when it comes to ATV. If an ATV does all this damage to State land and State Forest land then why does DEC use them for patrol? If ATV is so dangerous then why does National Grid use them to patrol their right always locale fire dept, NYS forest ranger, use then to fight forest fire and do remote rescues with them.

    Now I can drive any kind of motorized vehicle around my own property without having to register it PUT I can’t drive my ATV from my shed to my trailer without it being registered but yet I can’t use it on state or public land and come to think of it I pay taxes in NY so that actually mine and every NYer land.

    Hikers, mountain bike riders, horseback riders get to go any place in New York State land, DEC or Forest land and they don’t need to register to do their sport. Now let me ask you a question have any of you ever visited a well-used Hiking, Mountain bike or Horse trail and seen the erosion / Garbage left behind But yet this use is Ok
  18. sevenkitties
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    sevenkitties - July 27, 2012 5:15 pm
    ATV's were never intended to be ridden on roads and highways. So many young people who ride them would need a drivers license to do so in the first place. We have enough anarchy as it is from people who refuse to obey simple driving laws. Skiiers can always find a mountain to ski on even if it means traveling. I suggest ATVers stop whining and find a place to ride your ATV's.other than in the neighborhoods.
  19. Hummingbird57
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    Hummingbird57 - July 27, 2012 12:55 pm
    Are you kidding me. How can you print an article without doing any research? NYS needs to get on board. Banning an activity because of the media induced negativity of the ATV outcomes of those with little to no intelligence or experience is ludicrious. There are many states that have very sucessful ATV trail systems, some that support whole towns that otherwise wouldn't be on the map. Checkout the Paiute trail in Utah. The towns along this trail get much of thier revenue from ATV events held yearly. Their public roads are used to access trails, stores, motels and resturants. I have been to these events and calculated in excess of $500,000 revenue in a single 5 day event. With proper planning and education these are win/win scenarios. Wisconsin also has similar trail systems with commerce along the trail to bring the ATVer into their towns. Don't judge us or the sport by the yahoos out there that have no regard for anything.. they drive cars and trucks and motorcycles too. Are you one??
  20. Al
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    Al - July 27, 2012 10:48 am
    Got to love people who write editorials without knowing basic facts. So you are concerned about safety of ATVs? Last I checked, a motorcycle only has 2 wheels, and goes much faster - but that's allowed, right? ATV's ruin land? How so? Why are dirt-bikes, that for the most part have knobby wheels as well, allowed on public roads, AND trails? So a 600 pound ATV really is that much of a threat, and a large 4,000 raised pick-up truck with mud tires is not? ATV's are loud? They are NO WHERE near in comparison to some motorcycles (or cars & trucks)- not even close! Why are snowmobilers welcome with open arms by the state, with loads and loads of trails for them? - but us ATV'ers have nothing? ATV's with tracks rather than wheels aren't even allowed on snowmobile trails, which just boggles my mind being it's the SAME tracks on a snowmobile. This editorial is so biased, as are the people that complain about ATV's. It's so frustrating how people are so naive to these common sense things.
  21. loneoak
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    loneoak - July 27, 2012 7:41 am
    They are required to be liscenced and insured by the state so what does that get them? If you require this type of government control then how can you say they have no rights. They damage the roads no more than a kid on a dirt bike or a large truck. The loudness of motorcycles exceeds that of a four wheeler so that arguement doesn't hold water. Everything is banned from the Adirondack Park so that is a futile arguement. As far as the roads being too narrow for "slower traffic" perhaps we should get those bike riders off the road. As far as safety well that is an educational issue and personal chioce you always will have incompotent people driving any type of motorized vehicle. This could be as big as the snowmobile industry embarce it we need the revenue in upstate NY.
  22. upstatehunter
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    upstatehunter - July 27, 2012 5:07 am
    In the end, will it mean we will have hundreds of machines flocking to the town to ride the roads? No....There is no real trail system....The trails on private lands are just wide enough for one machine, so one way traffic would be the only safe thing....Plus I'm sure a large percentage of land owners won't allow any trail on their property, to be opened to the public....We have no maze of trails on state lands as they are all forever dead(wild) or forest preserve....so will people flock here to ride? No....Your editorial, and the fears of many transplanted, seasonal residents of the town are all for not.....much about nothing....waste of bandwidth here, and board time at meetings....Why aren't you/they, delving into why the town is being sued by GU for tax reasons....or where the money saved from not paying Wevertown FD for fire protection....or what the town is doing to continue growth to attract visitors on the train....the state seems to be trying, Insert shocked face here.........
  23. upstatehunter
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    upstatehunter - July 27, 2012 4:54 am
    Did anyone involved with writing this editorial check with Lewis county to see if there was a massive increase in accidents on their roads accessible to ATV-s??? Might have been some good information to your reader, either way it played out. I'm doubting it did increase.
    As far as traffic flow, if a road legal vehicle can keep up with an ATV travelling on a Johnsburg road......they both are travelling to fast.....Just like snowmobile trail systems, instate speed limits. DEC agencies monitor those and issue speeding tickets to machines travelling to fast on the trail system.....Hmmm more money to the coffers.....As far as the machines tearing Johnsburgs roads up.....Welllll you can't make worse, something that is already the worst...The board has never allowed moneys to be be spent correctly on the dirt roads of their town.....Just pile on more free tailings from the old Hooper garnet mine....Fill any ditch with it...fill culverts with it, and not allow proper width...

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