MALONE –– Town officials are considering following Franklin County’s lead by allowing snowmobilers to cross all town roads to gain access from one trail to another.
Councilor Candace Gadway offered the motion at Wednesdy night’s Town Council meeting, saying such a move would only benefit the area. Her motion was ultimately tabled to allow town officials time to review the existing law. They will revisit the Gadway’s proposal at the next meeting.
“I want to allow snowmobilers to use our roads to go from one trailhead to another,” Gadway said.
Gadway, in offering the motion for consideration, stressed it would benefit tourism and the economy. She referenced actions taken by the Franklin County Legislature.
The county Legislature last year opened all county roads to sledders as a connector to gain access to the next trailhead. Legislators said the change was aimed at helping build tourism, as well as in response to riders who had complained about the difficulty of connecting to some trails while out enjoying their winter sport.
Snowmobilers in Canada and the U.S. spend more than $30 billion annually on snowmobiling, according to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association.
Gadway, in preparing to make her motion, referenced the new, free Adirondacks US snowmobile app that contains information about North Country trails, as well as nearby gas stations, restaurants and lodging opportunities that welcome sledders. The interactive map pinpoints the sledder’s location with real-time GPS, allows them to plug in a destination and get the route, tap on nearby trails to identify routes, and use the search feature to find trails.
“It illustrates the number of trails in our community,” Gadway said just before making a motion –– which she said she hoped would garner board support –– to allow snowmobilers to use town roads to travel from one trailhead to another.
New Town Council member Jody Johnston seconded the motion to open it up for discussion.
Supervisor Andrea Stewart suggested reviewing details of the current law to determine whether it would need to be amended.
“I just want them to be able to go from one road to another, and that’s it,” Gadway pointed out.
Stewart said that might already be possible under the current law. She advised that she didn’t want the council to do anything that might later be thrown out. She recommended tabling Gadway’s motion and placing it on the agenda for the next meeting.
“I like this better than the law on the books that allows people to drive up and down some of our roads,” Stewart said. “I think that is a hazard.”