Tuesday, March 9, 2010

ACTION ALERT - Protecting Sensitive Ecosystems

Help save trails around Lynn's Ponds and Woods....

On Monday, Mass Audubon hand-delivered a letter to all 160 members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives asking them to support An Act to Regulate the use of Off Highway and Recreation Vehicles (SB 2257.) Signed by 9 major conservation organizations, the letter requests that they help move the bill out of the House Committee on Ways & Means and to the floor for a final vote.  The bill passed the Senate in January. 
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) use is growing in Massachusetts with sales of all terrain vehicles increasing by more than 300% over the past decade.  The lack of enforcement is well documented in the state and was the focus of the 2007 Department of Conservation and Recreation Off Highway Vehicle Enforcement Working Group.  Lack of enforcement leads to extensive and long-term environmental damage on private and public land and unsafe conditions; on the 160,000 acres owned by the Department of Fish and Game alone there are close to 300 miles of illegal trails. 
Illegal riding on public lands, often unique and sensitive areas protected with public dollars for wildlife and sensitive ecosystems, damages public property and degrades the public trust.  It is expensive to restore sites, and may be impossible as damage to wetlands, wildlife, and endangered species can be permanent.
Read the full letter for more information.
Please contact your state Representative and ask them to speak to House Ways & Means Chairman Charles Murphy expressing support for S.2257!   To find out who your state Representative is, enter your address at http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.php and scroll down to "Rep in General Court." If you know your Representative's name, you can just call the House switchboard and be put through: 617-722-2000.  You can also email.  Email addresses can be found herehttp://www.mass.gov/legis/memmenuh.htm.
Sample Message:
State your name and where you live and ask to speak to the Representative.  If they are not there, you can speak to staff.
Tell them that you are calling in support of Senate Bill 2257, which has passed the Senate and is currently before House Ways & Means.
Say that you hope your Representative will speak to the House Ways & Means Chairman soon and let him know that it is an important bill to you.
Bill description
Gives enforcement officers the tools they need to stop illegal and destructive riding on public and private lands and provide funding for the development of public trails in appropriate places.  The bill will:
  • Simplify the registration process and require registration for most OHVs with revenues directed to increasing enforcement capabilities, rider safety education, and the development, maintenance and restoration of OHV trails.
  • Fund enforcement - 25% of the fines collected from OHV violations will be split between the applicable law enforcement entities involved in the issuance of the fines.
  • Strengthen communication among riders, land managers, conservation organizations, enforcement agencies and other stakeholders by establishing an OHV Advisory Group similar to those in other states. 
Thank you for helping to protect the nature of Lynn and all of Massachusetts! 

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