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Committee eyes ATV ordinance

A proposed ordinance that would govern access to local public roads by all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) served as a focus for the Lake County Economic Development Advisory Committee’s Tuesday, Sept. 24, meeting.

Mike Cuff and Rob Thornton led the discussion on the proposal, citing numerous possibilities for local economic development and growth through recreational ATV users.

The proposed ordinance would allow operation of ATVs on authorized streets and roads in Lake County for the purpose of greater ease in accessing local recreational destinations.

Included in this proposal is a sticker that would identify ATVs authorized for this purpose.  Cuff noted there are state laws in place in the state off-highway vehicle guide that supports such an ordinance.

Current state law allows ATVs to cross state highways, but they may not be operated on these roadways.

The positive economic impacts of ATV recreation include patrons supporting in local hospitality and dining businesses, along with fueling their vehicles and purchasing replacement parts, where necessary.

Discussed as part of this ordinance was a fee schedule, titling of ATVs and liability insurance as part of the certification process.  The sticker would provide a visual for identifying those certified to operate on public roads.

Sheriff Phil McDonald suggested a violation fee schedule for the ordinance for enforcement purposes.  He cited riding off-highway vehicles in the dunes without an ATV safety card as a citable offense, meaning a ticket.

Adult supervision would be required for youths between seven and 15 years of age, Cuff said.

Statistics cited statewide included more than 270,000 riders participating in off-highway trail use between 2009 and 2013.

Oregon back-country routes total more than 1,500 miles of trails, Cuff said.

Thornton noted he’d collected more than 370 signatures of supporters for the ordinance.

Commissioner Brad Winters noted other elements of short-term economic development could possibly include short-term storage services for those that trailer in their ATVs.

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