New ATV Club starts in Pownal

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POWNAL — A local group that is trying to improve the image of people who ride all-terrain vehicles has started in Pownal.

The Pownal Regulators ATV Club is a family-oriented, non-profit organization that intends to foster community access to the use and enjoyment of the outdoor areas of the town of Pownal.

"There are a lot of preconceived notions [about ATV riders], that it's all riding late at night and trashing things," said club secretary Jamie Capriola-George. "We go out during the day as a family outing, we're not speeding and boozing it up. A big piece of the [club] is outreach that people enjoy [riding] and we can do it respectively."

According to the group's mission statement, "It seeks to conserve and respectfully use the natural resources of Pownal for healthful purposes. It seeks to encourage closer relationships with neighbors, and between families and friends through shared recreation. It also purposes to assist in the creation and maintenance of a town-wide trail system."

The club, which was officially started a couple of weeks ago, has seven main goals, which include giving of time and resources to the local Pownal community; education and outreach regarding responsible ridership; encouraging safe, courteous, lawful and legal use of ATVs and fostering positive relationships with local landowners.

They also are working on developing a town-wide trail system and supporting the preservation of that trail system through town-wide cleanups.

"As a club, we hope to help lift the stigma that ATV riders are `up to no good,' ride too fast, are unsafe and destroy the environment. We feel there are good people in this town who want to do good things," reads the Regulators Facebook page.

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The town of Pownal is in the middle of a debate on whether or not to allow an ordinance which would open up all town roads to ATVs, except for state highways, including routes 7 and 346. Back in 2011, according to Banner files, the town passed an ordinance that was rescinded soon after multiple complaints.

Last year, the Select Board considered a new ordinance submitted by John Bushee, who is now the vice president of the Pownal Regulators.

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No decision has been made yet.

"Whether [the ordinance] passes or not, there's still a need for the club," Capriola-George said. "If they do open it up, that can help us get from trail to trail. If they don't, we'll still have a club because we still have places open."

Capriola-George said the club will be focused in the short term on making sure that the trails are clean.

"Private land owners can sign rights to us to ride on the trails and part of the contract is to keep the trails clean, especially on the private property," Capriola-George said.

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The group is selling memberships as well, with different ones for Pownal residents and non-residents, along with family memberships.

The memberships are good for club events and access to land and trails that the club has permission to ride. To become a member, people must fill out an application, pay the fee and have a valid registration and insurance on the vehicle.

"Members get a sticker and it has to be visible on the machine," Capriola-George said. The state organization is VASA, the Vermont ATV Sportsman's Association. "Ours mirrors a lot of the clubs in the northern part of the state. We're riding for fun but also to be safe."

Meetings are held every couple of weeks and the club is hoping to host an ATV parade on Aug. 16, which is Bennington Battle Day, a state holiday in Vermont.

"We also want to give back to the town, with events within the club or something like a bottle drive, to donate to the Little League or even for a scholarship," Capriola-George said. "The general consensus is that most of us have families, we enjoy riding and we want it to be a positive outlet."

For more information, contact the club at pownalregulatorsatvclub@gmail.com or on their Facebook page.


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