There are ‘Less and Less’ ATV Options for NJ riders
New Jersey isn't too accommodating for ATV enthusiasts and the state isn't expecting to make much progress in that area.
The use of all-terrain vehicles is illegal on state property. Violators are subject to fines that increase with each violation.
And with no state-run parks for these riders to let loose, their only option is privately-owned land, unless they're willing to risk getting caught.
According to Mark Hufnagle, operations manager at Field of Dreams in Millville, the motocross and trails park is one of just two such facilities in the Garden State. Riders can also pay for track time at Raceway Park in Englishtown.
The business handles a couple thousand ATV customers per year, and Hufnagle says he's heard from many frustrated riders who wish they had more areas to roam.
"There's less and less riding areas for ATVs and dirt bikes," Hufnagle said of the state and country overall. "They're closed down yearly."
Keeping in line with a 2010 law, the state Department of Environmental Protection opened an ATV park in Woodbine in 2013, but it was closed after a short time due to lack of use, according to department spokesman Larry Hajna.
Hajna said the department has experienced "nibbles in places," but there are no solid plans for parks elsewhere.
"We don't want to force it on people," Hajna said. "We want to be able to find a community that's receptive."
Common concerns over the parks are the crowds they may attract and potential noise pollution.
Hajna suggested ATV-riding will ultimately be handled on the private side, but it still won't solve a shortage problem everywhere.
Riders at Field of Dreams range from 4 to 65 years old, according to Hufnagle. He said safety is key to running the business properly and keeping the public interested in the sport.
"We have an ambulance on site and we also have a side-by-side that's equipped to get the rider with the EMT and bring that rider out of the woods or off the track to the ambulance," Hufnagle said. "You're not going to find that just out in the sticks somewhere."