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Committee to meet to authorize road opening resolution for Snirt Run

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BARNES CORNERS — Less than 24 hours before Lewis County’s Economic Development Committee will meet to authorize the opening of county roads for the 11th annual Snirt Run, officials received the requested insurance policy from Barnes Corners Sno-Pals snowmobile club.

The all-terrain-vehicle poker run is the club’s only fundraiser for the year, attracting more than 3,000 ATV operators for the one-day event.

This year, in order to better coordinate law enforcement efforts, lessen damage and ensure the safety of participants, Lewis County legislators requested several items be addressed before they would give the go-ahead to open county roads for the event, scheduled for April 12.

One of those requirements was to provide a valid insurance policy to the county board.

Gary R. Stinson, club president and Snirt Run organizer, said he was assured March 9 by his insurance agent, Anthony Franklin, Franklin-Case Agency LLC, that he would have an insurance rider in hand no later than March 11.

Instead of the rider, a certificate of insurance was released, which failed to clear up confusion that arose from a policy previously used by Sno-Pals.

Mr. Stinson said, despite repeated requests, he did not receive the requested documentation until late Wednesday morning.

The policy the club had used since 2011, held by New York State Snowmobile Association, excluded ATVs from the coverage, while also claiming to cover only property included as part of the snowmobile trail.

Neither item was addressed in last week’s certificate.

Wednesday’s document indicated ATVs would be covered as long as operators do not stray from the designated course.

The policy, along with the county’s resolution, also requires all Snirt Run participants to sign a waiver absolving the club of any liability.

County Attorney Richard J. Graham was traveling Wednesday and had not yet seen the insurance documents.

As for the Sno-Pals waiver, he said he was unable to comment as he does not represent the club. He said he had not read the waiver.

The waiver does not name the county or any municipalities or landowners in the Snirt Run route.

Mr. Stinson canceled the event last Thursday, he said, “because of the interference of Lewis County and the demands they are making.”

In addition to adequate insurance, a resolution last month by legislators deemed updated maps, improved signs and barricades to be mandatory.

Mr. Stinson said he had met the demands, but refused to conduct a final sweep of the route to ensure no participants were stranded on the roads.

A day after canceling the event, club board members held a special meeting and decided to comply with all requirements, including the sweep, according to board member Brian J. Watson.

The club still must get approval from the Lowville Town Board before Bardo Road will be opened for the event.

The Lewis County Economic Development Committee will meet at 8:30 a.m. today in the legislative chambers at the Lewis County Courthouse, where it is expected to take up the Snirt Run issue.

The Lowville Town Board will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the municipal office, 5535 Bostwick St.

A copy of the Sno-Pals waiver can be viewed at http://wdt.me/QR5yAa.

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