Authorities crack down on illegal ATV usePosted: Updated:
Authorities are cracking down on illegal ATV use in Suffolk County.
News 12's Holli Haerr rode along with crews from several agencies as they patrolled Southaven County Park in Yaphank.
ATVs are not permitted on public land in Suffolk County. Art Pendzick, the deputy director of the Suffolk County Park Rangers, says using ATVs in off-limit areas like the Pine Barrens is not only dangerous, it can be bad for the environment.
When riders are caught, the penalties they can face are serious, and can include criminal charges. First offenses often result in fines, but additional convictions could mean days in jail, losing their ATVs and steeper fines.
In addition to patrols, the county has installed fences and barricades throughout wilderness areas to block off some of the trails riders use. But as fast as the fencing is put up, officials say people come along and rip them down.
Authorities say riders should only take their ATVs to places where it is legal.
Pendzick says police have seized 1,200 illegal ATVs over the last 15 years. They used to be sold at auction, but now they're mostly destroyed.