Tuesday, December 13, 2005

ATVs: Economic boon?

I keep coming back to this because of it's of both personal and professional interest to me. A story in today's Watertown Daily Times emphasizes the economic benefit of ATV access to the region.

Among the findings:
The study estimates that 26,800 visiting ATV riders annually spend a combined
478,068 days in the region, which includes Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego and Oneida
counties. During that time, they spend $23.07 million -- or $48.25 per person
per day -- on lodging, food, gasoline, equipment, transportation and other
purchases.


I'm all for economic development in the North Country. I just always have to be skeptical when I see studies by snowmobile/ATV advocates about the huge benefits of their hobbies. These studies never seem to incorporate the local nature of the recreationists and also don't include a comparison of the costs advertising and maintaining the recreational opportunity, nor tradeoffs that result from having trails open to motorized recreation (ie, when I lived in Potsdam-area, I couldn't even cross country ski on the trails behind my parents' house, as I did as a kid, due to snowmobilers who find it fun to make runs at skiiers). In short, I'm all in favor of anything that creates jobs and a stable economy--but not when it creates negative impacts in other areas of the local quality of life.

On a legal note, the last paragraph of the article states:
Lewis County legislators later this month may rescind the 2001 law opening
portions of 39 county roads to ATV traffic because of such "other information,"
namely an informal opinion from the state attorney general's office suggesting
that most of those roads were not opened in compliance with state law. A public
hearing is set for 10 a.m. Dec. 20.

Related issues have been happening in St. Lawrence County, as well, where legislators and councils opened roads to recreational traffic without regard to state law or the concerns of property owners worried about the increased traffic.

2 Comments:

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