TOWNSEND -- Updated laws regulating the use of off-road vehicles and increasing the penalties for illegal use will give conservationists a stronger tool in eliminating illegal motorized traffic in sensitive open spaces.
"We're very happy with the new rules," said Patricia Huckery, New England District superintendent of the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife.
The regulations, updated in 2010, require off highway vehicles, all terrain vehicles and dirt bikes to be registered and have a plate, Huckery said.
The plates will give law enforcement officials another tool in tracking down illegal riders.
"It's just plain difficult to catch someone red-handed," she said. "Some people in Townsend are doing a real good job of ID-ing where the vehicles are coming from."
Emily Norton, president of the Friends of Willard Brook, saw two people on a Jeep-style ATV ride into view through wetlands, an activity prohibited under the law.
"They were people my age," the retired teacher said. "They should have known better."
Land no longer must be posted if a landowner does not want to allow OHV travel on the property.
"You cannot travel with a vehicle on anyone's property without written permission. That's absolutely critical. As a conservation commission if someone is on our land illegally they can no longer say oh, I didn't know," Sharon Jordan said.
Jordan is a member of an advisory group for the Executive Office of Environmental and Energy Affairs and a Lunenburg conservationist.Read more: http://www.nashobapublishing.com/townsend_news/ci_20340776/updated-laws-aiding-stopping-illegal-off-roading#ixzz1rLU9ALdo