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Region is a destination for ATV riders

Yesterday we expressed gratitude to volunteers who have turned our area into a mecca for trail hikers and competitors.

We want to offer the same thanks and recognition to those who work hard to maintain and expand the ATV trails in our forestland.

Northern Clinton County in particular is a destination for ATV riders.

The Sproul State Forest encompasses a huge swath of the region. It’s the largest state forest in Pennsylvania, covering 305,450 acres or just over 476 square miles.

Within it – and in nearby Tiadaghton and Susquehannock State Forests, are some fabulous – nay, stunning ATV trails.

The Whiskey Springs ATV Trail comes to mind. It encompasses about 45 miles of trails that travel through moonscapes, re-vegetated old strip mines, improved gravel roads, and forest trails. There are seven scenic vistas, wild animals, wildflowers and mountain laurel. And soon there will be magnificent flaming foliage.

We cannot forget the The Bloody Skillet ATV Trail riding area in Clinton and Centre County consisting of some 37 miles of trails on former mining roads that include three challenge areas in old strip mine pits.

We know thousands of riders trek to the region annually for a ride through the woods … and for some R&R.

We see the trucks pulling trailers loaded with ATVs come through on their way north.

Among the most active “steward of ATV trails” is the Central Mountains ATV Association.

This growing group of riders and enthusiasts is promoting the sport like no other in our region.

They and others have lobbied the state to expand and connect trails.

Here are two brief reviews of the ATV trails we found:

5 “Excellent trails for side by sides and 4 wheelers. Great mixture of tight, open and muddy trails with a few nice hill climbs as well!”

5 “Went to Whiskey Springs ATV area. Good trails, nice variety of trails.”

Businesses – restaurants, B&Bs, motels and others — rely on ATV riders to frequent their businesses pretty much year-round, so the economic value of these trails and the riders who use them must never go unnoticed.

We understand there is a delay or roadblock with the state Departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources involving ATV trail use in northern Clinton County and we hope that is resolved very soon. We’re told a trail project deadline may not be met this year.

The state has invested heavily (with state and federal funds) in ATV trails in our region and we’re thankful for that.

We’re confident of the future of having safe, well-maintained ATV trails here, thanks to the partnerships involving state, local and county officials and, of course, ATV riders.

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