ATV riders in NJ urge state to give them some place to ride
More than a thousand people have signed a petition calling on the state to create a legal ATV trail system in New Jersey, one of just a few states without such an option.
The online petition began circulating after New Jersey 101.5 brought attention to the fact there are no options in New Jersey for riders of all-terrain vehicles.
The campaign was launched by Waterford resident David Demsey, a frequent rider of ATVs and high-lifted trucks.
Given the more than 500,000 acres of state owned parks and wildlife management areas in the state, Demsey said, there's no reason 125-150 miles can't be set aside for "responsible use of the forest" by ATV riders.
ATV use is illegal on state property, and riders looking to let loose can only do so on privately-owned land. That could mean a homeowner's property or one of the motocross and trails parks in Englishtown or Millville.
"The majority of people who have ATVs aren't out there to race," Demsey said. "They're out there to explore ... and enjoy being outside."
Following the rules of a 2010 law, the state Department of Environmental Protection opened a short-lived ATV park in Woodbine in 2013, but there are no solid plans for parks elsewhere at this time.
Demsey said ideally, trail systems would be available for riders throughout the state. While chatting with New Jersey 101.5, he mentioned Wharton State Forest and Stokes State Forest as possible locations for trails, but the online petition does not list locations.
The petition, which started with a goal of 1,000 signatures, indicates any trails would have to take into consideration the presence of threatened and endangered species' mating seasons, as well as hunting seasons. Also, the paths would not be open year-round in order to prevent destruction of wet or soft trails.
"One of the mandatory requirements that I would like to see is that you have to put in 24 hours of volunteer time within a 365-day period," Demsey said of anyone wishing to register their ATV with the state.
The DEP said it would be inappropriate to comment on the petition because it has not been formally submitted.
More from New Jersey 101.5:
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.