SOUTH COLTON Assemblymen, senators and county legislators toured part of the Multi-Use Trail System on ATVs and UTVs Saturday.
The group of officials from across the state, guided by ATV Club members, started at Long Pond Conservation Easement, rode about three miles into the trail and turned back.
The purpose of the ride-along was to showcase the trail to legislators and win their support in both the growth of motorized use of the trails and the push for regulation changes for UTV use, according to Frederick H. Monroe, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board.
This was to shine a spotlight on the trails as a place where these vehicles can be used, he said. They also hope to see the creation of more places they can be used, he said.
Mr. Monroe, who participated in Saturdays ride, said that in the past, some environmental activists opposed expanding motorized use of the trails because the vehicles could potentially cause damage to the trails.
But its no different than any other activities, he said. Hikers can do damage to trails.
Members of the Multi-Purpose Trail Committee are urging legislators to lift the weight limit for vehicles to be registered for heavier UTVs so more people can enjoy the trails.
Its a more comfortable way to travel, Mr. Monroe said.
Since UTVs under 1,000 pounds cannot be registered, the committee wants to see a law increase the weight limit to 1,500 pounds.
Patrick T. Whalen, a forester in the DEC Potsdam office, also participated in the ride.
It showed how important it is for ATVs to have a place to go in the county, he said. It was preaching to the choir. I dont think we changed anybodys mind because the people who were there were of that same mind.
Mr. Monroe predicted that his review board would soon pass a resolution to allow UTVs to be registered as a way of showing support.
The group had lunch at the Call of the Wild Kennel, where St. Lawrence County Trails Coordinator Debbie A. Christy gave a presentation on the trail system.