Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Charges On Illegal ATV Trail At Crane Mountain

No ATV sign courtesy Flickr user Peter BlanchardNYS Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ranger Arthur Perryman reported that he received information indicating an illegal all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trail was being constructed from privately owned lands onto New York State Adirondack Forest Preserve lands in the Town of Johnsburg.

Ranger Perryman reported he began investigating and found the trail on August 4. The next day, Perryman says he encountered two ATVs traveling down the illegal trail just below the summit of Crane Mountain.

Perryman stopped the individuals – a 50-year-old male from Johnstown and a 51-year-old male from Warrensburg – and said the pair were in possession of earth moving tools, and hand and chain-saws.  Both men were charged with illegal operation of an ATV on the Forest Preserve. DEC says the investigation is ongoing.

Photo of No ATV Sign courtesy Flickr user Peter Blanchard.

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35 Responses

  1. Todd Eastman says:

    Nail them with substantial fines and make them perform the restoration ?

  2. ben says:

    Make them restore what they destroyed & take the ATVs the raffle them off. If you could put some points on their driving licenses!

  3. Ryan Finnigan says:

    I hope the judge in the town of Johnsburg takes this charge seriously and sets a big example with these selfish morons.

  4. Paul says:

    It’s probably a $100 fine (maybe up to $250).

    Other fines would depend on if there was any large enough trees cut on the FP side.

    It seems like live trees are cut by hikers in the HPW all summer. I think that most people probably get off with a warning most times.

    • Ryan Finnigan says:

      Only you Paul can find a way to nail hikers when commenting on an article about illegal atv trespassing in the Forest Preserve. Maybe refrain from commenting for once if you can’t stay on topic.

      • Paul says:

        Ryan,I don’t think its good. Just noting that there should be a way to have strong enforcement for all. It’s all bad.

        My point is the punishment is too weak all around. It is the topic.

    • scottvanlaer says:

      Curious on what the basis is for your assertion that “live trees are cut by hikers in HPW all summer.” ?

      • M.P. Heller says:

        I think it’s really just the more poorly behaved campers, not hikers, unless you consider the “limbing” for views on LWJ a couple years ago. Uphill Brook, Feldspar, Snowbird, the Bradley Pond area, and the illegal site on the approach to Allen all frequently show signs of illegal campfires. Often this is accompanied by evidence of fresh cutting.

        I think Paul was just employing a little hyperbole to make his point.

  5. Charlie S says:

    An atv trail carved into the wilderness! Motorheads! Society created this duo….nothing less.

  6. Boreas says:

    Illegal ATV usage in the Preserve and elsewhere is nothing new and this is certainly an extreme example, but frankly, I am surprised this doesn’t happen more often. I feel the industry that manufacturers, markets, and promotes these vehicles has a tendency to overlook the fact that there are not a lot of public places to ride the vehicles. Of course, a good salesman can sell sawdust to a lumber mill, so many people end up with expensive vehicles with limited recreational opportunities. Add a NYS registration fee and some registrants feel they have a “right” to use any public lands for ATV use.

  7. Tim-Brunswick says:

    Perhaps the folks dredging up the trails in the High Peaks Area with their vibram soles should be fined, as well…………Hey… and let’s not forget the Rangers that go in on ATV’s to rescue folks!! Let’s stop that too.

    Maybe once the rescued hikers recover they should go back and repair the damage caused by the Rangers’ ATV’s ??


    • Todd Eastman says:

      Please explain the relevance of your statement…

      … no laws are being broken by the hikers walking the trails, nor the ranger using ATVs for administrative duties…

    • Dan Ling says:

      Banning motors in wild forest = banning all use. Check.

  8. Dan Ling says:

    No motors should be permitted on any Forest Preserve, nor on waters surrounded by it. Allowing snowmobiles was a mistake, for which the Adirondacks will continue to suffer and degrade until we realize what a mistake it was. There is plenty of private forest that should be used for bicycle trails, but with Earth perhaps now beyond a critical climate tipping point, with literally hundreds of millions of people already suffering from it, and costs of uncountable billions, maybe we should consider whether the time has come to stop destructive, inappropriate, oil-driven recreation on our most sensitive and important wild lands, including the Forest Preserve Wild Forest areas.

    • Ryan Finnigan says:

      Right on brother!

    • Paul says:

      Banning all motorized activity (including all motorboats) from places like the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest. Interesting proposal. It would certainly put lots of tri-lakes businesses (certainly all the marinas) – out of business.

      These are the kinds of extremes that people have warned about (those people are usually called conspiracy types by environmentalists). I always thought they would never be considered, but I guess not. Some folks seem to dig the idea.

      • Boreas says:

        One person voicing an opinion doesn’t constitute a conspiracy.

      • Dan Ling says:

        Do you think the St. Regis Canoe area is “extreme?” The only area of its type in the eastern US. Extreme! I think its more extreme to let every single large lake and almost every single small lake get polluted, even when surrounded by state land, and in our best park. That’s extreme-ly stupid, and selfish. It does not live up to the history of the Adirondacks, and is not worthy of the area.

        None of the Saranac Lakes are surrounded by Forest Preserve, so they wouldn’t fit my criteria, but as a separate consideration, closing Middle Pond is doable (permitting landowners and DEC boats), and prolly would have a pretty big effect on increasing paddler use while decreasing motorboat use, yeah. It would also benefit the lake environment by not a little.

        I don’t think regulating motor uses on one historic wild lake which is pretty rapidly degrading in quality is extreme. Admittedly the water quality is suffering more so because the APA Act is so toothless regarding lakeshore development and because the DOT like to put storm runoff into lakes. But there are a small handful of larger lakes that would attract many more paddlers (people / dollars) if they were closed to motors, so that would be an economic boon. Studies have shown this to be true. It’s an experiment we’ve rarely even tried though in the Adirondacks. But I will say the last time my daughter and I paddled into Little Tupper, the sites were full and we had to paddle the entire length of the lake to get the last site. There is pent up demand for quiet, clean water and low-impact campsites.

        For the wild forest areas, the law as originally stated did ban all motors. We made an exception and allowed snowmobiles, and since then there has been increasing pressure to allow other motorized vehicles, reopen old roads, etc. We were doing fine before snowmobiles, and other parks in the US that have banned motors are doing fine and are not really extreme imo. The idea is you are still allowing people to enjoy it, but with minimal degradation to the resource. That’s what parks are supposed to do – protect the resource as much as possible. But we don’t usually actually do that at all. Look at the degradation of the Middle Lake. It’s a lot worse than it was 40 years ago. So bad many, no most of the sites really need to be closed to allow them to recover. The motor decreases the effective size of any area it is allowed, also making it easier to bring stuff in, stuff like fireworks, chain saws, boom boxes, and all the other stuff you can hear from your campsite every summer now. The bear problem we have tghere now wouldn’t exist if motor boats weren’t bringing in huge beer coolers, etc. Ban motors and you will attract folks who go there to enjoy it for what it is rather than for what they bring in (and ruin it – not just for people but the bears too).

        People originally came to Saranac to be brought out into the wilderness by someone who was in tune with that wilderness, a real woodsman, not a mechanic. People didn’t employ leatherstockings to guide them out to hear motors, smell fumes, and see cans all over the woods either. The woods will always attract people, whether motors are there to mess it up or not. If a Saranac marina were to go out of business (which it wouldn’t even if motors were banned from Middle Pond), a paddling outfitter would just take its place.

        • Dan Ling says:

          I would also add that if you have inspected the sites around Middle Saranac in the last few years, you couldn’t fail to see the enormous damage chain saws have done to a large number of the sites. Tick Island, Halfway Island, etc. Large numbers of mature trees felled and left to rot. Paddlers didn’t do that – a dude in a motorboat brought in a big saw, gas, chain oil. And the spray paint all over the boulder on one of the best natural beaches in the NE US. Motorboat I bet. All the erosion of the boat access areas. The huge amount of blacktop created for trailers. Fishing line hanging from hundreds of shoreline trees. Buoys all over the lake. Motors severely degrade the place in too many ways to count.

          I’m not against motor boats. I’m against letting them severely degrade every single large lake and calling any alternatives that show more care to protecting the area for the future “extreme.”

          • Paul says:

            Motorboats are “severely degrading every single large lake”? That just isn’t happening. Sure perhaps there is some damage on Middle Saranac. The site that friends of mine have been using there each summer for decades doesn’t have the issues you are describing. The blanket statement you made above does not seem to be backed up by a few anecdotal examples.

            This is just my humble opinion – but most of the large lakes that I have visited for the past 40 or so years are still just about as beautiful now as when I first visited them. Maybe that is why we have so many people enjoying them? I was lucky enough to grow up on one of these lakes and have the privilege of owning a summer home on another! So this just my observation

            The DEC people on Middle Saranac should simply enforce the laws? They used to visit all the sites on almost a daily basis. How many here have been woken to the sound of “good morning – ranger!”. The problem is that now they just farm out the permit system to some “camp America” thing. Some will chime in that there isn’t enough people. Seems to me they have what looks about the same size crew working up there – maybe a larger one?

            • Paul says:

              In fact when I first started two visit Lower Saranac it had lots and lots of tent platform camps and lots of docks. That are now all gone. There was probably a lot more tree cutting back then for all those camps. It’s a much wilder place today (although there were some pretty “wild” parties at those state camps!).

  9. Tim-Brunswick says:

    Normally I just make my comments and fade w/o looking back or debating, but this one time I have to remark that the aforesaid is truly…and I do mean truly unbelievably entertaining !!

  10. Dean Bianco says:

    Dan Ling:

    Thank you so much for expressing what the majority of folks believe in with respect to the Adirondacks. I suggest that the minority of dissenters look elsewhere for motorized use of public land, if that’s what they crave. If they don’t like the way the laws are, I say move. I have no sympathy for them. MOST of the world is motorized, suburbanized/urbanized, and so little is left that is truly motor-less.

  11. Tom Payne says:

    A symptom of a very large problem that NYS created and has chose to stick their heads into the sand. Many years ago there was an ATV trail development fund and ATV registrations went to the development of trails in NYS. In the last days of the Cuomo senior regime the program was eliminated and the monies placed into the general fund. Since then millions of ATV registration dollars have been stolen by NYS. ATV riding areas have been proposed in the past. But that went no where thanks to the Environmental Lobby. So I guess the old saying you reap what you sow rings true.

    • John Warren says:

      They could simply open the snowmobile trails to ATVs – why don’t you advocate for that? The truth is, there are no ATV trails because the snowmobile clubs refuse to share. Why don’t you use your position in the State snowmobile organization to make that happen?

      If you don’t want to share, but still want ATV trails, you could get off your duff and build them, just like snowmobilers did, like mountain bikers are doing, like cross country skiers did, etc. Everyone has built their own trails on mostly private land with the notable exception of ATVers, perhaps not surprisingly, the people with the wealthiest toys.

      • Tom Payne says:

        The final decision as to whom uses snowmobile trails is the property owners. If they say no ATV use then the snowmobile clubs have no other choice. I am aware that the ATV community has tried on several occasions to restart their trail program, only to have stopped in Albany by the Environmental Lobby.

        • John Warren says:

          If ATV proponents can’t make their case to private property owners who already allow snowmobiles, and they can’t make their case to public property owners of forever wild lands or local or state parks, perhaps they ought to consider why their position is untenable.

          Your Environmental Lobby boogieman is pretty transparent, if you disagree with vehicle traffic and safety laws, take that up with the democratic process.

          The bottom line is, if you want ATV trails, you could learn from those who built the enormous snowmobile trail network, the Jackrabbit Ski Trail, and the Northville-Placid Trail, among many other smaller localized efforts.

    • Boreas says:

      And I would add another point – I doubt very much the original trail development fund was to be used on developing new ATV trails within the Forest Preserve, which would likely have seen strong opposition. But with this administration, who knows?

  12. Charlie S says:

    Dan Ling says: “Fishing line hanging from hundreds of shoreline trees. Buoys all over the lake. Motors severely degrade the place in too many ways to count.”

    Wherever man goes pollution follows. Give him a motorized contraption and the pollution increases tenfold…at least. Our leaders are giving more and more of what remains away. Away away we go give me a motorboat I’m too lazy to row.

    • Paul says:

      Most of the 4 cycle engines we have on the lakes now are far less polluting than the older two cycle versions we had around. There are still some out there but they are fading away. I have switch my boats years ago.

      Charlie I have home that can only be accessed by boat. Sure I could row to it (which I have) but it is a little tough at night especially when I have groceries IU need to get in the fridge or freezer. I have seen you comment here that you own a “truck” I assume you don’t use it to access your home as to avoid “the motorized contraption” and the associated pollution, and you simply walk everywhere? Or do you use it and just preach the pollution bit here to us?

      • D. Ling says:

        Paul, do you really equate our beautiful lakes with roads?

        I don’t advocate regulating private land access, just state land. It is time we looked to ways to better protect the state water bodies that are being abused. I’m not quite old enough to remember the tent platforms, but I’ve been camping there since the late seventies. I would love to somehow compare the pre-motor condition to the current conditions. Somehow I think the guideboat era was a bit more pristine.

        I think we especially must improve the ailing water quality. The climate catastrophe will destroy the character of our lakes as we know them over the coming decades, but it is never too soon or too late to work on reducing inflow of pollutants.

        • Charlie S says:

          I didn’t waste my time on Paul’s response D. Ling because, well…he sees black and white only. There’s no getting through to him.

  13. Ranger Rick says:

    This website seems like the perfect echo chamber for “nature enthusiasts” who don’t want other people to enjoy nature in different ways than they do. I enjoy hiking, downhill mountain biking, downhill skiing, and motorized sports like dirt biking, snowmobiling, and jet skiing. I don’t put down other people because of what they enjoy doing. Some hiking trails I’ve been on look far worse than ATV trails I ride on because of the erosion from hikers walking. I own land to ride my dirt bike on but the Adirondacks could benefit from allowing ATVs and dirt bikes on snowmobile trails. Look at Wisconsin, there are ~600 miles of state owned ATV trails and it seems to be working very well out there and it could increase revenue to areas which don’t have many tourists visiting at the moment. I would be happy to go out and maintain the trails, I think that is part of the fun of going out and riding. I don’t go out on my dirt bike or ATV searching for mud and looking to tear up land, I ride to have fun with friends and try to get as far away from the starting point of the ride as possible. In my opinion, the hikers and other people who don’t want any motorized vehicles in the ADK park seem to be the people who are selfish and somewhat hypocritical. Hiking through the woods causes damage to the ground just like riding an ATV does. These super outdoorsy nature enthusiasts who don’t want motors near them seem to be rude and pretentious. I know I am late to comment but this is how I feel on this situation. Thanks for reading about how I look at it.

    • Suzanne says:

      I, too, own land in the Adirondacks as well as further down in Columbia County, and while I don’t wish to refuse people to “enjoy nature in different ways” than I do, I am wondering in what way “Forever Wild” is such a difficult concept to understand. Hiking in the woods does not cause the same sort of erosion and damage as dirt bikes do, nor the noise and disruption of wild life–to claim otherwise is, frankly, lying, or to be more charitable, delusional. Call me a “super outdoorsy nature enthusiast” as well as “rude and pretentious,” but this is how I feel. BTW, I am 46er #248.

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