ATV Watch

   

Advocacy for monitoring ATV use on Public Lands

 

HOME

 
HISTORY
 

ATV Watch is a non-profit corporation registered in New Hampshire.  It was established in April of 2004 by Andrew and Sherri Walters.  They were nearing completion of a three-year renovation of a cottage located just outside the village center in historic Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire.  The charm, peace and quiet of the rural community is why they chose to live in Fitzwilliam.

 

One weekend in April of 2004, much to their surprise, what was a sleepy and lightly used rail trail   was transformed into an obnoxiously noisy ATV raceway. The corridor is the former Cheshire Division of the Boston & Maine Railroad now the Cheshire Rail Trail—which runs adjacent to their cottage.  For this weekend, the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED—the unusually named Parks agency in NH) allowed 350 ATVs to use the rail trail.  When the Walters called DRED to complain about the use of ATVs on the rail trail they essentially said that DRED makes the rules and that the Walters’ concerns were not a priority.  On that day they realized they were partly to blame for not more actively protecting our environment and for allowing a small, but well funded ATV lobbying organization to speak in Concord on their behalf.  They realized that when they say nothing they are really giving their voice to someone else. 

 

That was the start of ATV Watch.

 

Since that time ATV Watch has established a website and helped to organize a network of citizens willing to participate in the legislative process.  We soon found that the strongest proponent for ATV trail development is the Bureau of Trails (BOT), a division of DRED.  They are funded directly from ATV registration fees.  ATV Watch also quickly learned that DRED’s most effective way to silence the opposition is to simply not disclose any information on their ATV trail development related activities.  This effectively blinded us so we could never get ahead of the issues, which resulted in our efforts being less effective. 

However, in New Hampshire, the State Constitution as well as numerous State laws, recognize that openness in government is fundamental to our democratic process.  ATV Watch’s current effort is to require DRED to comply with State disclosure laws.  DRED is so used to no one ever questioning their lack of disclosure that we have surprised them with our focus and determination.  DRED and the Attorney General’s office have thus far been able to manipulate the laws and the Court so as to not be held accountable for their violations of the law.  ATV Watch believes that DRED’s actions cannot be indefinitely unaddressed, so we are now in the State of New Hampshire Supreme Court attempting to hold DRED and the Attorney General’s office accountable to the law.  At this time ATV Watch believes this is the best way we can help the voices of the citizens to be effectively heard on the State level.

 

Over the last couple of years we have also been actively participating in trying to protect the environment and the peace and quiet of our communities on the legislative level.  We helped to defeat a bill that would have allowed ATV trail development near public water supplies.  We backed legislation to strengthen the protection of the environment and the laws governing ATV use.  Most recently we backed legislation to require environmental, safety and community reviews prior to developing ATV trails on rail trails.  DRED was instrumental in quickly getting this bill killed which brings us back to our current primary focus, disclosure.  If DRED is forced to disclose their policies and activities, then the 98% of the citizens of New Hampshire that do not own a registered ATV could take more effective actions.

 

 

 

 

 

 
       
  HOME

 

 

 

ATV Watch
PO Box 34
Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire 03447
(603) 785-7722

Copyright a 2007
ATV Watch - All Rights Reserved ..