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Oct. 6, 2008
DEC APPROVES OPENING TWO ROADS ON STATE LANDS TO ATVs
Will Allow Connection of Trail Systems in Oswego, Jefferson Counties
After an extensive review, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director Judy Drabicki has announced that sections of two roads on state lands that connect Jefferson and Oswego counties will be re-opened to all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), determining that the discretionary decision to open the roads was compatible with vehicle and traffic laws.
DEC will open a section of Hessel Road (also known as the Remington Truck Road) and a section of Wart Road (also known as Blood Truck Road) to ATVs (more details below). Both sections are located in the Winona State Forest, which is under DEC jurisdiction. The action will allow the ATV trail system in Oswego County to connect to ATV trails in Jefferson County.
Earlier this year, DEC closed 40 roads -- located in state reforestation lands in Jefferson, Oswego and Lewis counties - to ATV traffic after determining that, in the past, the roads had not been legally opened to ATVs. Allowing ATV traffic on these roads did not comply with applicable provisions of the state vehicle and traffic laws. However, DEC agreed to review the status of Hessel and Wart roads at the request of the Jefferson County trail coordinator and based upon information provided by the county.
Director Drabicki and staff concluded that opening the sections of the roads was a lawful exercise of discretion, finding that the roads met the legal conditions for re-opening under the vehicle and traffic laws and that no other existing roads or trails provided reasonable access between the two trails. Also, these roads provided the best link to the county trail systems compared to alternatives, and could be used without causing environmental damage.
"We have said all along that DEC would review specific requests to open roads if lawful and warranted by the facts," Director Drabicki said. "In this instance, these roads in the Winona State Forest met the criteria."
Director Drabicki noted that the road sections are to be used for the sole purpose of providing access to adjacent trails. Use of ATVs on state lands adjacent to Hessel and Wart roads that are not posted as open to ATVs will result in the closure of the roads.
Winona State Forest Recreation Area (WFRA) ATV Coordinator Dave Cronk expressed appreciation on behalf of its members and visiting riders for DEC's willingness to work with them, Jefferson County and the towns of Boylston and Lorraine in reopening the roads.
"We especially appreciate the time and effort expended by Regional Director Judy Drabicki to hear us out and to work hard to accommodate all the different interests in using and protecting this precious resource," Cronk said. "We will work closely with the DEC Rangers to ensure that the ATVs stay on designated trails only."
"Oswego County is blessed with an abundance of natural resources that are enjoyed by a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts," Barry Leemann, Chairman of the Oswego County Legislature, said while expressing his appreciation for the joint effort of the counties and DEC. "ATV riders are an important part of our tourism community and we are pleased that they will once again be able to utilize these cross-county connections. We know they will enjoy and respect the resources available as a result of this agreement."
DEC staff will be placing signs indicating that the roads are open to ATV use as soon as this week, and will be working closely with WFRA members to ensure that riders are educated as to where the newly opened roads exist.
About the Roads
- Wart Road: This covers a 0.7-mile section of Wart Road (also known as Blood Truck Road), also in the Winona State Forest.
- Hessel Road: This covers a 1.1-mile section of Hessel Road (also known as Remington Truck Road) from the Wart-VanWormer Road intersection to the Brown Road Extension.
For information about joining an ATV club and trails in Oswego County, contact the Oswego County ATV Club, Inc., at 315-298-5601 or visit http://www.oswegocountyatv.org.
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