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Johnsburg board says no to ATVs on town roads

— “I don’t see where we should be told we can’t do it when we pay taxes too,” Millington said.

Town resident Keitan Millington said that ATVs are an “integral part” of his family’s life, something that he enjoys doing with his wife and children for hunting and fishing and even picking berries. Allowing ATVs on town roads would only enhance that pleasure, he said.

Amy Cleveland, a 43-year resident of the town and an ATV rider echoed Millington’s sentiments.

“I don’t like to feel like I’m being treated like a criminal for doing something I enjoy,” Cleveland said.

But others like town resident Judith Harper wondered how the law would be administered.

“The enforcement issue is of great concern to me,” Harper said. “Is the sheriff going to enforce what you’re proposing?”

Resident Paul Heid argued that many of the concerns expressed by opponents to the law were about riders who were acting illegally. Heid said that adopting the law would bring some order to the situation and make it easier to rein in riders who were breaking the law.

“We’re trying to make it better controlled,” Heid said.

Ultimately the decision came down to the five members of the town board.

Councilman Peter Olesheski proposed the law and was an ardent and vocal supporter of allowing ATVs on town roads. He said regardless of how the vote turned out, he would continue to advocate on behalf of ATV riders and look for avenues to provide a more coherent trail system in Johnsburg.

Supervisor Ron Vanselow said that he wasn’t ready to support the law because no one had come forward and shown him a specific location where use of a town road was needed to connect two existing trails.

“No one is stepping forward to say we need this for my land,” Vanselow said.

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