Pennsylvania Opens Northcentral Regional ATV Trail with Permit System

All-terrain vehiclePhoto by Rodrigo Morelos Oseguera on Pexels.com

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has launched a new initiative catering to the state’s all-terrain vehicle (ATV) enthusiasts by making permits available for the newly named Northcentral Regional ATV Trail. This development comes as a response to the growing demand for more extensive riding opportunities among the state’s 281,000-plus ATV registrants.

State Forester Seth Cassell emphasized the department’s commitment to enhancing regional ATV trail connectivity, stating, “We take seriously our role in connecting ATV trails and we will use this program to further determine whether sections of state forest roads may serve as permanent strategic connectors for regional ATV trails on a limited, case-by-case basis.”

The permit system, introduced to manage access to designated PennDOT and State Forest Connector Roads, aims to balance the expansion of ATV riding opportunities with the need for environmental conservation and safety. The fees collected from the permits, priced at $40 for Pennsylvania registered ATVs and $60 for out-of-state registrations, will help cover the costs associated with the implementation and management of the program.

For the 2024 riding season, permits are exclusively sold in-person at select state forest district offices, with extended office hours beginning May 24 to accommodate the expected influx of applicants. Additionally, the DCNR offers the convenience of mailing applications for those unable to purchase permits in person.

Spanning 650 miles across Clinton, Lycoming, Potter, and Tioga counties, the trail system integrates more than 450 miles of township roads, 163 miles of state forest roads and trails, and 40 miles of PennDOT-administered roads. This expansive network includes major DCNR ATV trails such as Whiskey Springs, Haneyville, and Susquehannock, promising a diverse and enriching riding experience for participants.

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Scheduled to open on May 24, 2024, and remain accessible until September 29, 2024, the riding area requires riders to acquaint themselves with the legal portions of the roads and trails to ensure compliance and safety. The initiative is set to run through the end of the 2025 riding season, following a directive in the 2023-24 state budget.

However, riders should note that bridge repairs on Cross Fork Creek Road in the Susquehannock State Forest, starting in mid-June, will affect access to certain areas, with no detour options available. This underscores the importance of planning and familiarizing oneself with the trail system ahead of time.

The Northcentral Regional ATV Trail represents a significant effort by the DCNR to create a sustainable trail system that balances recreational use with environmental stewardship. Cassell urged riders to adhere to all rules and regulations and to be considerate of the potential impacts on local communities and natural habitats.

As the program unfolds, it will likely serve as a model for how ATV riding and conservation goals can coexist, providing valuable insights for future efforts to expand outdoor recreational activities while preserving Pennsylvania’s natural resources.

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