- Chair: Tom Ortmeyer
Preparations for the Club's Fall Outing are well underway—Eileen Wheeler has organized a top notch set of trips. She needs just one or two more trip leaders at this point—thanks to all of the chapter members and friends who have stepped forward and volunteered to lead trips. It should be a great outing. Please see additional information on the Fall Outing elsewhere in this issue. We also still need a few volunteers to help out at the outing with registration and logistics, so please contact either Eileen or me if you can help out.
The County ATV Committee recently took a ride from Parishville to Hannawa Falls, to examine county forest lands and connecting trails. The goal of this committee is to propose an ATV touring corridor trail through the county and to open up some trails on appropriate county forest land. I have sat on this committee since being appointed by the chapter during my term as Vice-Chair for Conservation.
According to the plan being formed, the ATV clubs would be responsible for maintenance on the opened sections, and the county forests would be posted either as being opened or closed. The goal is to develop a trail system that is sustainable and recognizes the other uses of the forest land. In order to reach this goal, the system must be well designed and properly implemented. There is growing consensus that there also must be an appropriate enforcement plan if this is to work.
The recent Tug Hill Region ATV Economic Impact Study, prepared by Camoin Associates, cites action by the Suffolk County Legislature to address the enforcement issue. The report states: During the late 1990's Suffolk County, New York on Long Island experienced a growing number of ATV related accidents and infractions. In an effort to curtail illegal ATV use and improve safety, the Suffolk County Legislature enacted a local law authorizing enforcement personnel to seize and impound ATV's. Fines to recover seized vehicles can be set as high as $3,000. The County Legislature also significantly increased fines for repeat offenders, imposing a maximum fine of $5,000. The Legislature further adopted a "Truth-in-Selling" law that requires County dealerships to explain to customers the local laws restricting the use of ATV's in the County.
This action makes it clear that we in St. Lawrence County can implement an effective enforcement plan without waiting for the state to act on this issue. One issue that the state needs to address is the age limit of ATV users. New York law currently allows children as young as 10 to legally drive ATV's. Statistics show that the majority of injuries to the under-18 age group involves youths driving adult-sized machines—a fact that should lead to stricter laws regarding ATV use by this age group.
Finally, please mark your calendars for Sunday, November 5, for the fall potluck. We have invited the Grace Peak Society to make a presentation at the potluck. This committee seeks to rename East Dix Mountain as Grace Peak to recognize original 46er Grace Hudowalski.