During these trying and unprecedented times, I hope everyone is staying safe, staying calm and staying home. And if you are essential and unable to stay home, thank you for your efforts in keeping each of us healthy, safe and fed.
As you may recall during the month of March, I had written asking you to consider responding to DCNR regarding their new Draft ATV Policy. My letter was shared on the PSSA website and with the Clubs located in Region 10. I also posted the letter to a FaceBook Page I created exclusively for Region 10 news, PA State Snowmobile Association – Region 10 (@PSSAR10) as well as a FaceBook Private Group Central Pa Snowmobile Trail Conditions.
I hope you and your club(s) found time to send a response, discuss this during your club meetings and possibly even discuss the issue with your local Legislator. If you did, thank you. I admit I sent a response last minute as I was taking time to read all the comments folks were posting on FaceBook and I wanted to consider them when writing on behalf of all of you.
Below is the response I submitted to DCNR on behalf of Region 10:
RE: Draft ATV Policy Response
March 27, 2020
My name is Cindy Barrick, I am the Region 10 Director for the Pennsylvania State Snowmobile Association (PSSA). PSSA Region 10 includes the following Pennsylvania counties: Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Northumberland, Montour, Snyder and Union.
PSSA Region 10 consists of approximately: 891 miles of 1,901 miles of Joint Use Roads, 404 miles of 975 miles of Trail Miles (Snowmobile) and 1,296 Total Miles (Snowmobile) of 2,876 Total Miles (Snowmobile) considered DCNR Motorized Trail Mileage on State Forest land.
While not represented by PSSA, there are also 123 trail miles (ATV) of 269 trail miles (ATV) located within the State Forests that PSSA Region 10 covers.
I am writing to you today to provide a response, as requested, to the Draft ATV Policy currently being considered by the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources. As you can see by the counties I represent, this Policy will impact my Region quite significantly as the Legislative mandate to build an ATV connector trail between the Bloody Skillet and Whiskey Springs ATV areas located within the Sproul and Tiadaghton State Forest lands in Center, Clinton and Lycoming counties.
While the policy, at the top of page 2 states “….may designate portions of the public-use state forest roads as temporary, seasonal or permanent ATV trails.” The policy further states under Background page 4 “The Department, in the best interest of the visitors and staff, does not consider State forest roads to be the most viable option for ATV connectors or tails systems mainly because they are not conducive for ATV riding.” Given those two statements, it appears to the snowmobile community that DCNR would have no choice but to consider the designated snowmobile trails as the only viable solution to solving the problem this policy is designed to solve outside of building brand new ATV trails. Also, as stated during the Snowmobile and ATV Advisory Committee presentation of the Draft ATV Policy question and answer period; when asked if DCNR would consider the use of Trail Miles (Snowmobile) for ATV use the response given was “All options are on the table”.
The snowmobile community I represent, feel very strongly about many issues this Draft Policy when enacted will bring to reality. Their concerns about Trail Miles (Snowmobile) if opened to ATV use are as follows:
- With direct contact of ATV tires to the ground, there will be trail maintenance needing to be done to bring the trails back to level to ensure an enjoyable riding experience for snowmobilers. With the Restricted Account being separated the snowmobile community feels very strongly that the funding for this maintenance and policing of trails should come from the ATV Management Restricted Account.
- With only approx. 2 months between the ending of the ATV season and the start of the Snowmobile Season will DCNR have enough staff and time to complete such trail maintenance?
- How will DCNR monitor and enforce ATV riders as to trail speed and proper riding practices to ensures minimal trail damage?
- On joint use roads, currently trucks leave deep ruts in the snow that even the best groomer operator can’t fix, if there isn’t enough, groomers cannot be used. How will DCNR ensure ruts caused by ATV’s riding on joint use roads in the winter will be addressed in order to sustain an enjoyable riding experience for snowmobilers?
The snowmobile community recognizes that many owners also own and enjoy ATV riding and any newly constructed ATV trails could possibly increase trail mileage for snowmobiles as well. In that vein, the community would hope that any newly constructed trails would consider the use by snowmobiles when construction takes place. The community also recognizes the need to work together to solve the issues DCNR is facing.
Thank you for listening to the concerns of the PSSA Region 10 snowmobile community. The snowmobile community’s only interest is to preserve and sustain our riding experience. We look forward to working together DCNR and the ATV community to find the best solution were both ATV and Snowmobile users can benefit.
PSSA Region 10 Director