ATV Regional Trail Connector program will continue in the PA Wilds through 2025
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) press release
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) says it will operate an ATV Regional Trail Connector through the 2025 riding season, following the conclusion of the ATV Regional Trail Connector in 2023.
DCNR published an ATV Regional Pilot Report (PDF), which shares findings regarding the pilot on the department’s website.
The Fiscal Code in the 2023-24 state budget instructed DCNR to continue operating the regional system for 2024 and 2025, as the agency’s authority for the pilot program has ended.
This is an interim administrative measure prior to the establishment of a multi-jurisdictional authority.
The ATV Regional Trail Connector pilot was created in response to growing ATV purchases, registrations, and public demand for increased riding opportunities.
Through collaborations with public and private partners, the pilot offered long-distance riding opportunities and contribute to local economies, while maintaining the many uses and values of the state forest system.
DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry implemented a comprehensive monitoring program to evaluate the pilots social, environmental, and economic impact.
Detailed information regarding monitoring can be found in the legislative report (PDF), including the key finding that a multi-jurisdictional authority is necessary to operate a trail connector program moving forward to ensure proper staffing, budget, and expertise to address the needs of the trail system.
Other highlights of the report:
Short-term impacts of the pilot placed minimal impacts on state forest resources
Riders were generally satisfied with the pilot
71 percent of non-motorized recreationists shared dissatisfaction with the pilot
Citing dust, noise, and the availability of law enforcement resources, 46 percent of residents expressed dissatisfaction with the pilot
DCNR issued 10,779 passes cumulatively during the three seasons of the ATV pilot, with riders from Pennsylvania and 19 other states purchasing passes for the trail system
Economic monitoring estimated a total economic impact of $8.2 million in 2022 and $11.7 million in 2023 for Potter and Tioga counties
Routes used for the pilot were made possible through engaged involvement and cooperation of local townships to open their roads to ATV use.
The 2023 pilot route included 374 miles total comprised of township roads, state forest roads and trails, and PennDOT-administered roads.
The route and more details
The 2024 route will remain the same as in 2023 and information on the routes, passes, and maps will be shared in early spring 2024.
Established on July 1, 1995, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is charged with maintaining and protecting 121 state parks; managing 2.2 million acres of state forest land; providing information on the state’s ecological and geologic resources; and establishing community conservation partnerships with grants and technical assistance to benefit rivers, trails, greenways, local parks and recreation, regional heritage parks, open space, and natural areas. DCNR’s mission is to conserve and sustain Pennsylvania’s natural resources for present and future generations’ use and enjoyment. Learn more at DCNR.pa.gov.
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