ALERT FROM THE DELAWARE-OTSEGO AUDUBON SOCIETY, INC.
PROTECT NY’S BIRDS AND
SUPPORT PLAN TO KEEP ATVs OUT OF STATE FORESTS
Dear NY Birders-
Your help is needed to protect our state’s
bird life, the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve, and other
state lands from the damage and disturbance
of motorized vehicles.
All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) use -- legal and illegal
-- on these public lands is a serious problem. With increasing
and urbanization, the relatively
undisturbed State Forests are more important than ever as the
only remaining large wooded tracts providing crucial habitat for birds and
wildlife, and a refuge for birders, hikers, skiers, or those seeking a quiet
from a hectic world.
ATVs pose significant threats to forest birds. The
effects of fragmentation and corridors and the resulting nest predation
raccoons, feral cats, etc. is well known. ATVs will also disturb ground and
low-nesting birds and forest raptors. Declines in wildlife diversity have
in areas of ATV use.
Other environmental impacts of ATVs include destruction
of vegetation, soil compaction, soil erosion, and disturb-ance
and siltation of streams. Clearly
is not in keeping with the NY State Department of Environ-mental Conservation’s
stated policy ". . . to ensure the biological diversity and protection
of the forest ecosystem . . . ."
In the past, the DEC has considered
ATV riding an appropriate use on state lands. However, the agency has now
proposed a draft policy on ATV access
to State Forests
and other lands under their jurisdiction. This policy is a significant
step forward in recognizing the threats of ATVs to these irreplaceable
resources, and limiting their use on public land.
YOU CAN HELP ENSURE THIS
POLICY IS ENACTED
The new plan clearly states that ATV riding is not a program
offered on lands owned by the state and that ATV use is not encouraged
in these areas. It
will drastically limit ATV use in Forest Preserve lands in the Catskills
and Adirondacks, and ban it outright on Wildlife Management Units and Environmental
On State Forests outside the Catskills and Adirondacks, ATV
use may be permitted only to access recognized recreational programs, such
as hunting, fishing,
trapping, camping or wildlife observation, in compliance with strict criteria
regarding resource protection, illegal use, and conflicts with other users.
In addition, ATV trails will be allowed on those lands where the state has
acquired a recreational easement, rather than outright purchase. These areas
are typically timber company lands where logging roads and vehicles are already
The net effect is that very little, if any, legal ATV use will
be possible on lands owned by the state. (Exceptions are made for
persons with disabilities
under existing DEC policy.) (continued on page 4)
THESE CHANGES ARE FAR
A series of public hearings and a public comment period are being
held on the draft ATV policy. Off-road vehicle riders, dealers
and lobbyists have organized
to stop these protections from being enacted. It is essential that those
who want to safeguard the forests and wildlife speak out!
PLEASE ATTEND A PUBLIC HEARING OR WRITE DEC
Let DEC know that you support our wild public lands and that
motorized recreational vehicles are an inappropriate use for
these special areas. Urge that the
draft policy be enacted and enforced to protect the forests for this
and future generations.
The draft policy is available at http://www.dec.state.ny.us /website/dlf/publands/atv.htm.
Comments can be submitted until May 27 to: Robert Davies, Director,
Division of Lands and Forests, NYS DEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY
12233; or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. ny.us (put ‘ATV
policy comments’ in subject line).
A schedule of public hearings is available at the web site above,
or by calling (518) 402-9405.
For further information, contact Andy Mason,
Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society ,
AndyMason@earthling.net; (607) 652-2162.
More information on this issue is also available from the Adirondack
Over Dutchess, April