North Country Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, is working on legislation that would allow ATVs and UTVs weighing up to 1,500 pounds to legally be used on trails across the state, including in St. Lawrence County.
Jenne has worked for years with a broad coalition of stakeholders from across the state, representing diverse views, in an effort to address requests to legalize side-by-sides, provide more tools for law enforcement efforts, address public and private property damage by all-terrain vehicles, and address environmental concerns and trail development.
Jenne’s 116th District, the so-called “River District,” includes all St. Lawrence County communities along the St. Lawrence River, plus Canton and Potsdam.
Currently, state residents are not able to register (UTVs), commonly known as side-by-sides, weighing over 1,000 pounds, which are often easier for families, people with disabilities and more mature all terrain vehicle users. They are also widely used for agricultural activities.
Jenne has made amendments to the most recent draft of her legislation, with the aim of making progress on areas of agreement and avoiding getting bogged down in policy areas where there is not widespread agreement. The assemblywoman hopes to see more stakeholders will accept her invitation to engage in the future on this issue.
Along with providing the ability to register and legally use ATVs and UT’s weighing up to 1,500 pounds, Assemblywoman Jenne’s legislation addresses many longstanding concerns of stakeholders.
The legislation provides for the impounding of ATVs and UTVs by law enforcement when justified, revenue for law enforcement agencies to help with enforcement efforts, restoration funds to address damage to private lands and directs the Department of Environmental Conservation to adopt strict air emissions standards for ATVs and UTVs.
The legislation also increases registration fees and establishes private landowner tax credits to support trail development and maintenance to minimize the need for on road use. Assemblywoman Jenne has ensured prohibitions against drunk or impaired ATV use is explicitly included in the legislation. While the legislation continues to be revised and improved, the protection of state lands is of critical concern to the assemblywoman, and she continues to seek the input of organizations and individuals working to secure that goal.
The evolution of the assemblywoman’s legislation over the past several years clearly reflects her willingness to address concerns and reflect the views of all sides of this policy area. New Yorkers have waited long enough for the implementation of these basic provisions that are necessary for responsible riding, law enforcement efforts and the protection of our environment and rights of private property owners. We need to adopt these common sense provisions and not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.