Home > Uncategorized > Opportunities, Concerns Raised On Expanded ATV Riding

Opportunities, Concerns Raised On Expanded ATV Riding

October 16th, 2018

A meeting on the Northcentral Pa. ATV Initiative was held on Monday at the Gunzburger Building, hosted by the Potter County Planning Department. Among participants were representatives of the Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), police, emergency services, conservation interests, ATV rider organizations, tourist promotion agencies and county government. Multiple representatives of a Clinton County-based organization attended to discuss the benefits of a strategic planning process to expand ATV riding opportunities.

For decades, riders of all-terrain vehicles have been pressuring state leaders to open up additional sections of publicly owned forest, park and game lands for their use. ATV partisans scored a major victory recently when the state legislature amended the Fiscal Code with an order that directs two state agencies to work together to expand the trail system in northcentral Pennsylvania. DCNR is now required to work with PennDOT to connect Clinton County to the New York State border through state forest land and highways by April 2024. This network will link several trails that are already developed in different regions between the counties. Those trails are Haneyville, Bloody Skillet, Snowshoe Rail Trail, Denton Hill and Whiskey Springs.

Proponents say the plan will expand riding opportunities for locals and tourists, boost the economy, and curtail illegal riding on state roads and forests. Opponents cite traffic safety concerns, enforcement issues, infrastructure maintenance responsibilities, conflicts with other users of public lands, and environmental impacts.

Assistant State Forester Jason Albright (above, left) framed many of the issues in addressing the group of about 40 attending Monday’s meeting. He pointed out that, despite legislative mandates to develop the trail system, the Bureau of Forestry remains committed to protecting water quality and environmental sustainability on state forest land. The bureau also recognizes the challenges that the legislative mandate presents in law enforcement, access for emergency services and potential conflicts with other state forest users.

Potter County Planning Director Will Hunt, who moderated the meeting, indicated that another session will be held in the coming months. He said the goal is to provide a forum for anyone with an interest or concern to be heard as the trail development moves forward. Those seeking more information or wishing to provide input can contact the Planning Department at 814-274-8254.

Comments are closed.