No ATVs on New York State Land

Update date: 
March 25, 2016
Active
Statewide
NY
2016
Issue in brief: 

UPDATE: The Adirondack Mountain Club has confirmed that the ATV trail bill was stricken from the budget legislation.

We will keep our members and friends informed if and when ATV legislation is introduced during the regular legislative session.

The Issue

The New York State Senate 2016-17 Budget Bill (S6408-B Part QQ) includes language that would allow state agencies to open state lands to ATV use. This bill language will roll back existing protections and must be removed from the budget. Burying such potentially damaging legislation in the budget is unacceptable. If such a bill is considered, it should be considered as a standalone bill on its own merits.

Why the Trail Conference is opposed to opening New York State Land to ATV use

ATVs have an unprecedented potential for causing irreversible harm to the environment. Opening ATV access to state lands ensures such damage will ruin some of New York State's most scenic and economically valuable land, including 786,000 acres of State Forests. These lands host some of New York's most popular hiking trails such as the Long Path, North Country National Scenic Trail, the Finger Lakes Trail, and the Appalachian Trail.

In 2011, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released the results of their assessment of the viability for ATV use on State Forests. They concluded that there was no place for ATVs on state land due to their destructive potential and the agency's inability to properly regulate and enforce them with current resources. DEC also determined that a riding area of less than 40 miles of trail would result in illegal use of surrounding terrain.

This new legislation would ask DEC to come up with rules and regulations for ATV use "with a view towards achieving maximum use of ATVs" when DEC has already made a determination that there is no capacity for ATV use on DEC-managed lands. In addition, this legislation would increase the allowable weight for what is legally defined as an ATV, opening these areas up to larger and more destructive vehicles.

The Senate version of the 2016-17 NY State Budget would also allow children as young as 12 to drive ATVs on roads at 55 mph! ATVs are not designed to be used on hardened road surfaces.

How can I get involved?

The Adirondack Mountain Club has confirmed that the ATV trail bill was stricken from the budget legislation.

We will keep our members and friends informed if and when ATV legislation is introduced during the regular legislative session.

Support

4/1/16: The Adirondack Mountain Club has confirmed that the ATV trail bill was stricken from the budget legislation due to the collective efforts of the ADK, NY-NJ Trail Conference, Finger Lakes Trail Conference, Catskill Center, Catskill Mountain Club, Sierra Club, Environmental Advocates, and many other groups.

We will keep our members and friends informed if and when ATV legislation is introduced during the regular legislative session. 

3/23/16: Sample letter for you to write to the Assembly, Senate, and the Governor:

Subject: No ATVs on New York State Public Land! Remove ATV Language from Budget!

The New York State Senate 2016-17 Budget Bill (S6408-B Part QQ) includes language that would allow state agencies to open state lands to ATV use. Our state public lands are no place for ATVs! This bill language will roll back existing protections and must be removed from the budget!

ATVs have an unprecedented potential for causing irreversible harm to the environment. Opening ATV access to state lands ensures such damage could ruin some of New York State's most scenic and economically valuable land. Including lands that host some of New York's most popular hiking trails such as the North Country National Scenic Trail, the Finger Lakes Trail, and the Appalachian Trail.

In 2011 the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released the results of their assessment of the viability for ATV use on NY State Land. They concluded that there was no place for ATVs on state land due to their destructive potential and the agency's inability to properly regulate and enforce their use with current resources. This new legislation directs DEC to come up with rules and regulations for ATV use "with a view towards achieving maximum use of ATVs" when DEC has already made a determination that there is no capacity for ATV use on DEC managed lands. In addition, this legislation would increase the allowable weight for what is legally defined an ATV, opening state land areas up to larger and more destructive vehicles.

The Senate version of the NY State Budget Bill also would allow children as young as 12 years old to drive ATVs at 55 mph on roads! ATVs are not designed to be used on hardened road surfaces.

This bill language is a disaster for public safety and the natural heritage of the state!

Advocacy: 
Advocacy Issue image: 

Remember: The safest place right now is at home.