Around the States


CALIFORNIA Federal agencies are closing roughly 31,000 acres to off-road riding in the Clear Creek Management Area in San Benito County after the EPA issued a report alleging an increased long-term cancer risk associated with recreational activities in the area. The agency states that the area's soil contains a form of naturally occurring asbestos, called Coalinga chrysotile, that generally doesn't pose a problem unless it is exposed and disturbed (for example, by off-road riding). The EPA's risk findings were above the range the agency considers acceptable to public health.

MAINE The state Supreme Court upheld a 2003 law that gives towns the power to ban PWC on public lakes and ponds. "Given the unique characteristics of personalized watercraft, their size, speed and maneuverability, the [state legislature] could rationally determine that they pose a unique risk to others on great ponds," wrote Justice Donald Alexander. "The public has a right to use great ponds. This right, however, is not fundamental, and is inherently subject to legislative restraints." The state deems public all lakes and ponds greater than 10 acres.

MARYLAND The Night-time Awareness Auxiliary Lighting Bill, unanimously passed by the state legislature, allows riders to illuminate the front, rear and sides of motorcycles with non-outwardly projecting lights.

UTAH Lake Powell looks like a primo destination spot for PWC enthusiasts this year. Snowpack in the Colorado Rockies is so high, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, that experts predict lake levels to rise about 50 feet. And, for the first time since 2003, the lake will be high enough to allow boaters to pass through the Castle Rock shortcut, which lops 12 miles off the journey from one end of the lake to the other.

WEST VIRGINIA Huntington, the state's second-largest city, has banned all ATVs from public roads and property. City Council members voted unanimously on the measure in order to curb injuries to young riders and to keep ATVs off the city's flood wall, which reportedly has sustained erosion damage from ATV riders who have built ramps near the wall. The council also was concerned over more instances of children riding quads on city streets without protective gear. "We've got a bunch of nuts in Huntington riding around with their kids on [the] front of these things," Councilman Jim Ritter told the Associated Press.

WISCONSIN The state's Natural Resources Board voted 7-0 to reject the construction of ATV trails in the 225,000-acre Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest near Minocqua. The DNR concluded that the trails would conflict with nonmotorized use of the area and that having ATVs in the forest could damage environmentally sensitive lands.