Pilot Program to Allow Some ATVs on Two State Forest Trail Systems

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry is initiating a pilot program increasing the size of registered all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) permitted on two state forest trail systems, DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced Tuesday.

“Beginning with the reopening of 2017 riding season later this year, both the Whiskey Springs and Bloody Skillet ATV trail systems in Sproul State Forest will allow larger vehicles to ride on designated ATV trails,” Dunn said. “The Susquehannock ATV trail system will follow suit for the opening of the 2018 riding season. These three trail systems have the correct features to accommodate the larger ATVs, which is why they were selected for the pilot program. These larger machines have been steadily gaining popularity with the riding community.”

The pilot program on Sproul and Susquehannock ATV trail systems will permit operation of ATVs measuring up to 64 inches in width and weighing up to 1,800 pounds.

Prior to the pilot program, nine of the bureau’s 11 ATV trails were open to machines in the Class II category, that is, not exceeding 58 inches in width and 1,200 pounds.

The ATV trails in the Michaux and Tiadaghton State Forests are currently not open to Class II machines and restricted to Class I ATVs — not exceeding 50 inches in width and no heavier than 1,200 lbs.

“DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry has historically provided ATV riding opportunities in locations that are environmentally suitable,” Dunn said. “To accommodate the growing number of ATV riders, 11 designated trails have been established in seven state forest districts — Bald Eagle, Buchanan, Delaware, Michaux, Sproul, Susquehannock, and Tiadaghton — providing nearly 270 miles of trails for riders to enjoy.”

In addition to state forest trails systems, the secretary noted ATV riding enthusiasts can choose from a variety of ATV parks across the state, as well as trails in the Allegheny National Forest.

Some ATV trails reopen for winter use in conjunction with the snowmobile season from the day following the last day of the regular or extended deer hunting season through April 1 — conditions permitting. Riders are urged to check in advance with forest districts to be sure winter-use is permitted.

The bureau will monitor the trail systems in Sproul and Susquehannock state forests to determine if the use of the larger machines is sustainable in the long term.

Detailed information on ATV riding in Pennsylvania’s state forests can be found at http://www.dcnr.pa.gov/Recreation/WhatToDo/ATVRiding/Pages/default.aspx.

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